, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 163–172 | Cite as

Lessons learnt in addressing environmental issues of new water resource projects – a case study in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

  • S. W. Gillham
  • L. D. Archer


Developing new water resource projects without taking cognisance of the environmental impacts, both biophysical and social, has received global condemnation for many years now and is largely becoming a practice of the past. However, it is the prominence, extent of issues addressed, timing and intensity of the investigations and the commitment to environmental protection and mitigation that has increased significantly over the past few years. Practices in South Africa are no exception to this. Environmental legislation in South Africa requires that an Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) approach be adopted when any new project is being considered. This IEM approach was recently put to the test in South Africa during the planning and implementation of an inter-basin transfer scheme in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. This paper will discuss the steps that were taken to address the environmental issues during a protracted planning phase, and what was accomplished. It will compare how these recommendations were taken forward into the construction phase and the operations phase, and the lessons learnt from the process.

environmental impact assessment environmental management plan integrated environmental management inter-basin transfers water resource development 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alletson Ecologicals and IWR Environmental, 2000: Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme: Social and Biophysical Impact Assessment for the Development of the Mearns Weir to a Full Supply Level of 1382 masl., Report prepared for Umgeni Water and the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry.Google Scholar
  2. David Totman and Associates, 2000: Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme: Phase 1-An Environmental Impact Assessment for the Proposed Raising of the Midmar Dam Wall. Report prepared for Umgeni Water and the Department of Water A. airs & Forestry.Google Scholar
  3. Environmental Conservation Act (No. 73 of 1989): Scholar
  4. Expropriation Act (No. 63 of 1975): www. publicworks. gov. za/ legislation/act75–063. htmGoogle Scholar
  5. Geringer J.J.: Proposed generic Terms of Reference for DWAF Project Planning. Internal report for inclusion in DWAF 's Environmental Management Framework.Google Scholar
  6. Interorganizational Committee, 1994. Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment. Paper prepared for the US Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Marine Fisheries ServiceGoogle Scholar
  7. IWR Environmental, Alletson Ecologicals, and the Institute for Cultural Resource Management, Natal Museum, 2000: Mooi-Mgeni River Transfer Scheme: Receiving Streams Environmental Impact Assessment. Report prepared for the Department of Water A. airs & Forestry and Umgeni Water.Google Scholar
  8. National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998): www. acts. co. za/ntl enviro man/Google Scholar
  9. National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998): www. acts. co. za/ntl water/Google Scholar
  10. Sadler B, Senecal P et al, 1999: Principles of Environmental Impact Assessment Best Practice. Report prepared for the International Association of Impact Assessment in cooperation with the Institute of Environmental Assessment, UKGoogle Scholar
  11. Steffen, Robertson and Kirsten, 1995: Mooi Umgeni Transfer Scheme Receiving Rivers Impact Management Study-Impact Manage-ment Workshop Background Information Document. Report No. 217149/CH2. Report prepared for Umgeni Water.Google Scholar
  12. Phelines R. F., 1985: Water Supply under extreme drought conditions. Internal report for Umgeni Water.Google Scholar
  13. Snaddon C., Davies B. and Wishart M., 1999: A Global Overview of Inter-Basin Water Transfer Schemes with an appraisal of their Ecological, Socio-Economic and Socio-Political Implications and Recommendations for their Management. WRC Publication TT 120/00.Google Scholar
  14. United Nations (UNDP)Environment and Natural Resources Group, 1992: UNDP Handbook and Guidelines for Environmental Man-agement and Sustainable Development. United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017.Google Scholar
  15. Vanclay F., 2003: Social Impact Assessment. International Principles.Google Scholar
  16. Paper prepared for the International Association for Impact Assessment. The WEHAB Working Group, 2002. A Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation. Report: United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg.Google Scholar
  17. World Commission on Dams, 2000: Dams and Development-A new Framework for Decision-Making. Earthscan Publications Ltd, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. W. Gillham
    • 1
  • L. D. Archer
    • 1
  1. 1.Umgeni Water, P O BoxSouth Africa (

Personalised recommendations