Short Communication

Statutory protection for the water requirements of natural ecosystems

Maritza Uys
Koedoe | Vol 35, No 1 | a393 | DOI: | © 1992 Maritza Uys | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 1992 | Published: 22 September 1992

About the author(s)

Maritza Uys, Water Research Commission, South Africa

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A project was recently registered with the National Parks Board to investigate the need for legal protection of the water requirements of natural ecosystems and the existing legislation which provides such protection. There is a distinct lack of legal protection, which is identified and discussed in this paper. It is submitted that the current South African water law is outdated and in need of reform so as to accommodate the demands of a wider spectrum of user sectors. Since the amendment of the existing water allocation system (in a country where water is a scarce resource) could be politically a disconcerting step, it should be made only after due consideration of the various needs for water, the historical foundation of the existing system, and a study made of effective systems in countries with similar water problems. An in-depth study of the historical development of South African water law has already revealed interesting yet abrogated concepts, which can possibly serve as a means of protecting the natural water requirements.


environmental law, ecobiota, conservation, public and private water, allocation mechanism, integrated water management, natural law, public interest, riparian ownership.


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