National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF)

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185 Schoeman Street
South Africa
0800 200 200
+27 12 336 8664

National Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF)

The Department of Water Affairs is the custodian of South Africa's water resources. It is primarily responsible for the formulation and implementation of policy governing these two sectors. It also has override responsibility for water services provided by local government.

While striving to ensure that all South Africans gain access to clean water and safe sanitation, the water sector also promotes effective and efficient water resources management to ensure sustainable economic and social development.

The forestry programme promotes the sustainable management of the country's natural forest resources and commercial forestry for the lasting benefit of the nation.

Our vision is to be: a dynamic, people centred department, leading the effective management of nation's water and forestry resources, to meet the needs of current and future generations.

The right to have access to sufficient water is provided in Section 27.1(b) of the South African Constitution. According to the Constitution, the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the progressive realisation of the right to access to water within its available resources. The National Water Act of 1998 ensures that the nation’s water resources are protected, used, managed and controlled in a sustainable and equitable manner, and that the water is reallocated to advance previously disadvantaged communities.

One of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s (DWAF) flagship programmes, Masibambane, has adopted the theme ‘water for growth and development’, which greatly underpins the objective of the government’s Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa policy, and puts emphasis on building capacity at local government level, increasing employment and reducing poverty.

Masibambane is led by DWAF in partnership with the Department of Developmental Local Government and Housing, the South African Local Government Association, the European Union (EU), the Swiss Government and Ireland Aid. The EU has been a firm supporter of Masibambane since its inception in 2001, and has to date provided funding in the region of R135-million. In addition to donor funding, South Africa commits a total of R69-billion of its own resources to Masibambane.

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