Towards Community-Based Natural Resources Management In The Water Sector: An Analysis of Legislative Changes made under the South African and Zimbabwean Water Reforms
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This paper presents a comparative review of Zimbabwe and South Africa's water Acts of 1998. The legislative changes made in both countries were not isolated events. They were part of broader reform programs aimed at changing operations of the water sectors in the two countries. This paper, therefore, gives a brief background to the water sector reforms in both countries in order to place the legislative changes in their proper context. .The main objectives and the rationale behind these reforms are outlined. It is argued in the paper that there is a considerable amount of similarity between the two countries' main reasons and objectives for reforming their water sectors. The major objectives identified as applicable to both countries include: ♦ Promotion of equality in access to water for aij citizens ♦ To decentralise water management to the catchment level ♦ To increase stakeholder participation in the decision-making process for the water sector ♦ To promote integrated management of water resources ♦ To'make the sector self financing by instituting cost recovery measures and approaches in the distribution of water While a number of objectives of the reforms are pointed out, the attainment of equitable access to water is singled out as the most outstanding one. The paper explores the driving philosophy and generic concepts behind the reforms. Relevant literature and documentation is cited in order to clarify some of the fundamental concepts dealt with in the paper. In another section, the same fundamental concepts are discussed in relation to their applicability to the Zimbabwean and South African situations as reflected in the two countries' Water Acts of 1998. An analysis of the main features of the two pieces of legislation is made as well as an attempt to bring out their implications for water resources management. Important issues left out of the reforms are also pointed out and suggestions for improving the legislation are proffered wherever necessary
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University of Zimbabwe.