Water and Agriculture

Sustainability, Markets and Policies

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Agriculture is a major user of water and is responsible for much of its pollution. But the agricultural sector faces increasing competition for scarce water supplies from urban and industrial users and, increasingly, to sustain ecosystems.  This conference proceedings explores how both governments and the private sector can expand the role of markets to allocate water used by all sectors and to get agricultural producers to account for the pollution that their sector generates.



Progress with Water Allocation Reform in South Africa

In implementing South Africa’s National Water Act (36 of 1998), the Water Allocation Reform (WAR) programme is a proactive intervention to address race and gender imbalances created in the water sector as a result of historical discriminatory legislation in the country. Its conceptualisation and implementation fits firmly within the ambit of integrated water resources management (IWRM); however, its focus is primarily sociopolitical, dealing with the re-distributive aspects of water allocation reform. WAR has a formally legislated political mandate and its scale is national. Although it is primarily socio-political in its focus, a wide range of specialist considerations supports it. For these reasons, the programme is multidisciplinary and complex. Success with its implementation will result in greater socio-political and socio-economic stability for the country, and support the contention that socio-centric elements of IWRM are equally, if not more, important than techno-centric ones in particular instances. The paper describes an IWRM implementation approach with socio-politics at its forefront, one that is purposeful and process-driven as a potential recipe for success. In addition, potential risks and threats are identified and their likely impacts briefly highlighted.


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