Title page for ETD etd-08282008-110336

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Van der Merwe, Francois Petrus Johannes
Email francois@dwaf.gov.za
URN etd-08282008-110336
Document Title A method of evaluating an irrigation water use in terms of "efficient, sustainable and beneficial use of water in the public interest"
Degree MEng
Department Civil and Biosystems Engineering
Advisor Name Title
Ms I van der Stoep Committee Chair
Prof S J van Vuuren Committee Co-Chair
  • irrigation efficiency
  • water use
  • South Africa
  • NWA
  • National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998)
  • water in agriculture
Date 2008-04-11
Availability unrestricted

This dissertation endeavours to provide a practicable method to evaluate any existing or proposed irrigation water use against the purpose of the National Water Act (Act 36 of 1998) (NWA) as described in section 2. It firstly focuses on section 2(d) of the NWA, which requires the promotion of efficient, sustainable and beneficial use of water in the public interest. Although the evaluation of the degree to which this purpose is being achieved by a specific irrigation water use is the topic of this dissertation, it is further argued that by viewing this aspect comprehensively enough, it actually covers five other requirements of section 2, concerning irrigation water use.

The efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation operation is evaluated. It includes irrigation technology aspects, the efficiency of the relevant irrigation systems and water supply infrastructure, irrigation management skills and the proper application of best management practices by the irrigator that determines the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the irrigation operation.

Aspects that determine sustainability of the particular water use that are included in the evaluation, entail among others the protection of the water resource (surface and groundwater) and other natural resources, the riparian habitats and all relevant aquatic ecosystems. Other aspects concerning sustainability are the prevention and control of the chemical pollution of the water and soils resources through the irrigation process, as well as salination and water-logging of land through wrong agricultural and irrigation practices.

A further aspect is investigated here for a particular water use namely whether it really represents beneficial use in the public interest, by analysing the socio-economical and political considerations unique to every particular situation. This also requires the consideration of intangible benefits and costs, which are by nature subjective and for which the specific requirements will differ from the one situation to the other. In order to provide a procedure that is transparent and consistent enough to withstand any challenge from users or proposed users in this regard, it has been decided to utilise amongst others the BBBEE scorecard, which has been developed and is presently being implemented by government, also in terms of section 27(1)(b) of the NWA.

University of Pretoria 2008


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