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On 3 May 2018 Agri SA announced that that it had formally launched a dedicated Water Desk that will focus on the need to ensure equitable access to water for farmers across South Africa. This initiative is in response to a host of external challenges facing agricultural water users, including severe drought, climate change and under-maintained infrastructure. The situation is all the more urgent given several policy proposals that may simultaneously increase the cost of water while reducing the availability to agricultural users.
The Agri SA Water Desk will, amongst other things, focus on water policy and legislative proposals such as the draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan and the National Water Resource Strategy. The current amendments to the National Water Act, for example, will determine the cost of water for agricultural users, which is why it is necessary to engage with government and other key stakeholders from the start to work towards a fair outcome. The Agri SA Water Desk will also give inputs to the Water Research Commission (WRC) on research priorities and will act as a forum for top water experts to share their insights in a meaningful way.
The Agri SA Water Desk will be led by Janse Rabie, an environmental lawyer and Head of Agri SA’s Natural Resources Centre of Excellence and Gregory Smith, a water scientist. “The Agri SA Water Desk will be a one-stop-shop for Agri SA members, where they can get up to date information and advice on all things water-related," said Janse Rabie. “Given the complexity of water rights and the fast-changing policy environment, we believe that a dedicated Water Desk is the best way to enable agricultural water users to stay abreast of all legal developments which will have an impact on the way they farm and do business."
“Agri SA is at the forefront of legislative and policy development regarding the water sector in South Africa. Agri SA strives to support government in this fundamental area through collaboration with key stakeholders and timely and well-researched inputs to policy development," said Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA.
Agri SA invites its members, and interested parties, to contact the Agri SA Water Desk to find out how they can get involved.
Agri SA: Head of Natural Resources
C: 074 451 9601
Agri SA: Research Associate
C: 084 214 1151