Department of Water Affairs

Gaborone, Botswana

Department of Water Affairs

Gaborone, Botswana

The Department of Water Affairs is one of the departments of the South African government. In May 2009, following the election of Jacob Zuma, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was divided, with the forestry responsibility being transferred to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation was established in May 2014 by President Jacob Zuma with former Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane becoming the first Minister. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 5, 2017

When Koos Smit studied civil engineering on a public service bursary at the University of Pretoria in the 1970s, the plan was that he would qualify and build dams and pipelines. However, an oversupply of engineers at the Department of Water Affairs saw him sign up at National Roads. He remained at National Roads, and its successors, for the next 43 years, managing the development and maintenance of roads instead. Smit will retire at the end of May, exiting the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) as the entity’s engineering executive. “I never regretted the decision to go National Roads. I have had some wonderful opportunities to grow as an engineer,” says Smit. For the first eight years of his career, he was part of internal supervisory teams that procured and directed the construction of three diverse greenfield projects in different parts of the country. He started off as an assistant resident engineer, and became a resident engineer midway through this period. The projects included the construction of 7 km of N1 concrete freeway between Fairlands and Main Reef road, at an estimated current value of R1.1-billion. Construction of this road included the relocation of 1.5 km of railway line carrying 600 000 commuters a day, as well as traversing a number of mine dumps, which had to be stabilised. Another project was the construction of the N3 dual carriageway between Umhlatuzana and Key Ridge, in KwaZulu-Natal, which comprised 3.5-million cubic metres of earthworks, with a single embankment size of 1.35-million cubic metres. To complicate matters further, an unexpected visitor, cyclone Domoina, wreaked havoc halfway through the project. After this eight-year period, Smit acted as engineer on the reconstruction of the Cradock to Cookhouse portion of the N10. He also managed the construction of greenfield projects on the Garden Route, as well as the North Coast toll road between Umhloti and Tinly Manor. Toll Roads In 1993, amid the political uncertainty in the build up to the change of government, Smit became involved with the proposed N1 toll road. “With the fast-growing growing traffic on the N1 in the 1990s, there was a dire need to extend the N1 from Middelfontein to Polokwane, but, as there were no funds from the fiscus and limited borrowing capacity as a result of a cap on the State guarantee, it was decided to develop this 126 km of freeway as a public–private partnership (PPP), with off-government balance sheet financing.” Legislation at the time, however, did not allow the private sector to collect tolls for its own account in order to construct and maintain the road, which meant the N1 tender was structured as a long-term performance contract in which government would collect the tolls. This provided a revenue stream on which the prospective tenderers had to tender to procure financing to construct and maintain the road, then transferring the road back to the State within the shortest possible repayment period. The shortest repayment period of 23 years tendered by the successful contractor, ends in October 2018. “Despite uncertainty in the markets and our failure to obtain off-government balance sheet financing it was still a very successful partnership.” says Smit. As a new government came to power in 1994, the responsibility for national roads was transferred to State-owned entity Sanral in 1998, with Smit joining the agency as engineering executive. The new government wanted to create job opportunities grow the economy through the development of infrastructure. This placed three identified spatial development corridors on the table, explains Smit. Toll road concessions – or upgrading of the roads through the user-pay principle – in the Maputo Development Corridor, the Platinum Corridor and the Durban-Gauteng Development Corridor saw financial close in less than six years. The combined initial construction cost of the three concession projects was R19-billion, at current rand value, with the combined estimated cost of maintenance and improvements over the 30-year concession period around R28-billion, also in current rand-value. “Our main challenge in the development of these projects was that there was very little or no experience of PPPs in government or the private sector at the time, nor any local guidelines or regulations,” says Smit. “We had to start from scratch to carve out a concessions template that would suit the South African environment.” Gauteng Toll Roads Smit says he made “a modest contribution in the procurement methodology, as well as conceptualisation, structuring and procurement of the toll system service providers” of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), which led to the implementation of electronic tolling (e-tolling) on 200 km of Gauteng’s urban highways. The project has faced much resistance from users, with compliance rates well below initial forecasts. Political will and public acceptance are the main pre-requisites for an enabling environment to develop toll roads. “I believe GFIP would have been a global flagship project if procured in a less complex enabling environment,” says Smit. Smit says Sanral still has R120-billion of possible toll roads on its books, but warns that these projects will now have to join a long waiting list for Sanral’s non-toll budget. Highlighting another challenge he faced in his career, he expressed his disappointment that the De Beer’s pass project, as a second route over the Drakensberg mountain range, has not been approved. “It would have been of huge benefit to the economy of South Africa.” Instead of building the De Beer’s pass, Sanral has opted to upgrade the existing alignment between Keeversfontein and Warden. Core Function Despite the large projects that have marked Smit’s career, he describes the task of developing and maintaining South Africa’s national road network as his core function. “It is about the optimal investment of our non-toll budget of around R15-billion a year and the procurement of around 450 service providers on an annual basis in order to develop and maintain our road network. Overseeing the delivery cycle is where most of my energy goes, and there is no glory there, only hard work.” He adds that nothing he has achieved at Sanral has been a “one-man show”. “It is a huge team effort to procure and manage service providers to develop and maintain the national road network.” No successor has been named for Smit yet. He notes that he will do some consulting work upon leaving the Sanral office for the last time as engineering executive.

van Wilgen B.W.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Forsyth G.G.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Le Maitre D.C.,South African Council for Scientific and Industrial Research | Wannenburgh A.,Department of Water Affairs | And 3 more authors.
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

This paper presents an assessment of a large, national-scale alien plant control program that has operated in South Africa for 15. years. We reviewed data from three national-level estimates of the extent of invasion, records of the costs and spatial extent of invasive species control operations, assessments of the effectiveness of biological control, and smaller-scale studies. The 19 most important invasive taxa, mainly trees, in terrestrial biomes were identified. The effectiveness of control efforts on the extent of invasion of these taxa was assessed. Control costs over 15. years amounted to 3.2 billion rands (US$457 million), more than half of which was spent on 10 taxa, the most prominent being in the genera . Acacia, . Prosopis, . Pinus and . Eucalyptus. Despite substantial spending, control operations were in many cases applied to a relatively small portion of the estimated invaded area, and invasions appear to have increased, and remain a serious threat, in many biomes. Our findings suggest that South Africa's national-scale strategy to clear invasive alien plants should be substantially modified if impacts are to be effectively mitigated. Rather than attempting to control all species, and to operate in all areas, a more focused approach is called for. This would include prioritising both the species and the areas, and setting goals and monitoring the degree to which they are achieved, within a framework of adaptive management. A greater portion of funding should also be directed towards biological control, where successes have been most notable. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Rimayi C.,Department of Water Affairs | Odusanya D.,Department of Water Affairs | Mtunzi F.,Vaal University of Technology | Tsoka S.,University of Witwatersrand
Chemosphere | Year: 2015

This paper investigates the efficiency of application of four different multivariate calibration techniques, namely matrix-matched internal standard (MMIS), matrix-matched external standard (MMES), solvent-only internal standard (SOIS) and solvent-only external standard (SOES) on the detection and quantification of 20 organochlorine compounds from high, low and blank matrix water sample matrices by Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled to solid phase extraction (SPE). Further statistical testing, using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS) by applying MANOVA, T-tests and Levene's F tests indicates that matrix composition has a more significant effect on the efficiency of the analytical method than the calibration method of choice. Matrix effects are widely described as one of the major sources of errors in GC-MS multiresidue analysis. Descriptive and inferential statistics proved that the matrix-matched internal standard calibration was the best approach to use for samples of varying matrix composition as it produced the most precise average mean recovery of 87% across all matrices tested. The use of an internal standard calibration overall produced more precise total recoveries than external standard calibration, with mean values of 77% and 64% respectively. The internal standard calibration technique produced a particularly high overall standard deviation of 38% at 95% confidence level indicating that it is less robust than the external standard calibration method which had an overall standard error of 32% at 95% confidence level. Overall, the matrix-matched external standard calibration proved to be the best calibration approach for analysis of low matrix samples which consisted of the real sample matrix as it had the most precise recovery of 98% compared to other calibration approaches for the low-matrix samples. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

Vlachopoulou M.,Imperial College London | Coughlin D.,Imperial College London | Coughlin D.,Department of Water Affairs | Forrow D.,UK Environment Agency | And 4 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

The Ecosystem Approach provides a framework for looking at whole ecosystems in decision making to ensure that society can maintain a healthy and resilient natural environment now and for future generations. Although not explicitly mentioned in the Water Framework Directive, the Ecosystem Approach appears to be a promising concept to help its implementation, on the basis that there is a connection between the aims and objectives of the Directive (including good ecological status) and the provision of ecosystem services. In this paper, methodological linkages between the Ecosystem Approach and the Water Framework Directive have been reviewed and a framework is proposed that links its implementation to the Ecosystem Approach taking into consideration all ecosystem services and water management objectives. Individual River Basin Management Plan objectives are qualitatively assessed as to how strong their link is with individual ecosystem services. The benefits of using this approach to provide a preliminary assessment of how it could support future implementation of the Directive have been identified and discussed. Findings also demonstrate its potential to encourage more systematic and systemic thinking as it can provide a consistent framework for identifying shared aims and evaluating alternative water management scenarios and options in decision making. Allowing for a broad consideration of the benefits, costs and tradeoffs that occur in each case, this approach can further improve the economic case for certain measures, and can also help restore the shift in focus from strict legislative compliance towards a more holistic implementation that can deliver the wider aims and intentions of the Directive. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Cochran B.,Clean Water Services | Logue C.,Department of Water Affairs
Journal of the American Water Resources Association | Year: 2011

Over the last five years, Clean Water Services developed and implemented a program to offset thermal load discharged from its wastewater facilities to the Tualatin River by planting trees to shade streams and augmenting summertime instream flows. The program has overcome challenges facing many of the nation's water quality trading programs to not only gain consensus on the frameworks needed to authorize trading, but also provide a broad range of ecosystem services. This paper compares the Tualatin case study with some of the commonly cited factors of successful trading programs. © 2010 American Water Resources Association.

Kurugundla C.N.,Department of Water Affairs
African Journal of Aquatic Science | Year: 2014

The fruiting and seed dynamics of the alien invasive aquatic species Pistia stratiotes L. (water lettuce; Araceae) was investigated in the seasonally flooded Selinda Canal and Zibadianja Lake of the Kwando-Linyanti River system and in the perennial Chobe River, Botswana, in 1999-2003. The mean number of 30.3 seeds fruit-1 in the Selinda Canal is the highest ever recorded. An artificial earthen barrier or dyke was constructed on the Selinda Canal to allow manipulation of water levels downstream. By drying and subsequently reflooding a region of the stream, seed germination was stimulated, followed by the manual removal of water lettuce seedlings before their seeds reached maturity, which resulted in a decline in seed germination in surface sediment samples from 63.5% in 2002 to 31.7% in 2003. Manipulation of flooding, followed by the physical removal of P. stratiotes at regular intervals prior to anthesis and seed maturity, is considered the most viable strategy for arresting further additions to the seed bank, and could lead to its eradication in seasonally flooded areas where the biocontrol weevil Neohydronomus affinis has become locally extinct since its introduction in 1987. © 2014 Copyright © NISC (Pty) Ltd.

Seward P.,Department of Water Affairs
Ground Water | Year: 2010

In 1998, South Africa promulgated a Water Act that is widely regarded as one of the most progressive and enabling pieces of environmental legislation in the world. The environmental aspects of the Water Act are commonly referred to as " resource-directed measures." These measures attempt to find the right balance between (1) leaving water in the resource (" nonconsumptive use" ) to provide ecological goods and services for society and (2) taking the water out of the system for " consumptive" human use. These measures also attempt to ensure that both nonconsumptive and consumptive use is sustainable. This article discusses some of the challenges faced in using the measures to achieve environmentally sustainable ground water use. A major challenge is that misunderstanding still abounds regarding the environmental aims of this legislation. Other major challenges identified included a severe shortage of technical capacity, an inordinately long water use license application process, incorporating adaptive management to deal with uncertainty, incorporating the public participation process, and revising policy implementation processes to accommodate highly localized aquifers. Selecting appropriate scientific methodology-neither too simplistic nor too involved-is a recurring challenge. It is suggested that an important part of addressing these and the other challenges identified is a period of reflection and dialogue between the various sectors involved. Copyright © 2008 The Author(s). Journal compilation © 2008 National Ground Water Association.

Bila-Mupariwa N.M.,Department of Water Affairs
Water Wheel | Year: 2013

Bila-Mupariwa works in a challenging environment in which service delivery and client service are paramount objectives. Her current position at DWA is where her significant experience in water quality, wastewater treatment processes, her understanding of local government and environmental management has allowed her to provide decisive and confident leadership skills and build teams that continuously add value and exceed community's expectations. The general processes in the auditing and assessment of municipalities for Blue and Green Drop certification involve a number of tasks. The first process that takes place is the training of inspectors for assessments. Once the inspectors have qualified, they are allocated municipalities that they have to assess. Bila-Mupariwa is currently finalizing the thesis for her Masters in Integrated Water Resources Management, from the University of Western Cape which is about the impact of the Blue Drop and Green Drop certification within WSIs.

Oosthuizen C.,Department of Water Affairs
Concrete Repair, Rehabilitation and Retrofitting III - Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Concrete Repair, Rehabilitation and Retrofitting, ICCRRR 2012 | Year: 2012

An overview is given of the developments with regard to risk-based dam safety assessment of dams in the Department of Water Affairs (DWA). Dam safety related terminology is defined to avoid confusion. The ranking and risk-based methodologies used in DWA for dam safety assessments are briefly discussed. With the risk-based methodology the various impacts (i.e. population at risk, social, socio-economic, financial and environmental) as well as the relative risk levels are being quantified, qualified and assessed. These assessments are not only being used for the evaluation of the relative risk at existing dams but also to determine the cost-effectiveness of proposed rehabilitation works. Risk-based dam safety analyses therefore do play a major role in the prioritisation of remedial works. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group.

Nortje J.H.,Department of Water Affairs
Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering | Year: 2010

This paper describes a new Regional Estimation of Extreme Flood Peaks by Selective Statistical Analyses (REFSSA) method to estimate extreme flood peaks from regional flood peak data. The method differs from current regional flood frequency analysis (RFFA) methods or approaches in that an additional separate statistical analysis is performed on "record maximum flood peaks" within a "similar hydrological region". Suitability of the method is demonstrated for the estimation of extreme flood peaks with annual exceedance probabilities between 0,001 (1/1 000) and 0,0001 (1/10 000) for two major hydrological regions in South Africa, and for catchment sizes between 100 and 7 000 km2. The applicability of the method for catchments outside these regions and limits has not been fully tested mainly due to a shortage of verified data. The theory and a practical example are presented. Excellent results have been obtained so far, displaying high correlation coefficients between extreme flood peak data and regression lines, namely 0,99 on average on log-normal scale. The method is considered to have universal application, especially in climates experiencing outlier type of extreme flood peaks.

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