Water Affairs

ACDP policy on water

The ACDP recognises a grave responsibility with regard to the stewardship of water, which is a scarce commodity and a vital resource.

Both the conservation and accessibility of water by all are major concerns and will become priorities.

The Government has attempted to revise or enact new environmental laws in almost every field including waste management, pollution control, minerals and energy, agriculture, biological diversity (and use of genetic resources), forestry and land.

In line with these developments a new law was drafted based on the Fundamental Principles for a New Water Law approved by Cabinet.

According to these principles, there should be no ownership of water but only a right to it (for environmental needs and to meet basic human needs) or an authorisation for its use. In addition, such authorisation should not be granted in perpetuity.

The ACDP takes a strong stand against these fundamental principles where it states that the location of water in relation to land should not in itself confer preferential rights to usage. Included in this is the proposed abolition of the riparian principle that affords special water rights to the owner of land over which or directly alongside which the water flows.

We feel that if a government controls the ownership of water in such a fashion, it could prohibit the use thereof. It can then effectively force compliance from any person or group by cutting supply for just a couple of days. This is an infringement of personal freedom.

The ACDP believes that the state should not be allowed to own all rights and consequently supersede individual rights. Everyone should have access to clean running water.