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Water Use License Process

Your application for a water use licence will be submitted to the Regional Office of the Department of Water and Sanitation. The Regional Office will charge a licence processing fee, and will do the assessment in the Regional Office/Catchment Management Agency. Your licence application will then be transferred to the Head Office for further processing.

The following diagram outlines the process for applying for a Water Use Licence:

process for applying for a Water Use Licence diagram

There are generally 6 steps to processing any licence. These steps aim to test the application against the principle of beneficial use in the public interest and specifically against Section 27 of the National Water Act (NWA) [PDF - 239 KB]. These steps are:

Step 1 - Pre-Application process:
This is done when your licence application is received, and is used to check if everything needed to process the licence is available. You will be asked to provide missing information, and may get initial feedback before you pay your application fee (R 114.00) - so you can decide whether to continue.

Step 2 - Application Initiation:
This is where the Department determines the information required to compile a water use licence application technical report to support the application. The determination of information requirements will be based on the information contained on the form or the site inspection, if required.

Step 3 - Screening:
This is the screening of the Technical Report and the acceptance or rejection thereof.

Step 4 - Processing and Finalising:
This includes the assessment of the Technical Report where the information is evaluated by specialist groups, and recommendation to the Delegated Authority for a decision.

Step 5 - Decision by the Delegated Authority:
After considering all the relevant information, the Delegated Authority will make a decision on whether to approve the application.

Step 6 - Implementation:
The Regional Office starts with the implementation of the licence, including issuance and highlighting any conditions that might be attached to the water use licence.

An application for a water use licence can take up to 300 days to process, depending on the complexity of the application, its benefits to the nation, and its possible impacts. Generally, low impact, high value licence applications will be processed quicker. Applicants may be requested, at any stage, to provide more information, to advertise the proposed water use, or to invite interested and affected parties to comment.

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