The WRCS is a principal mechanism for determining the balance between the use and protection of individual water resources (rivers, springs, wetlands, lakes, surface water, estuaries and aquifers). It identifies which resources need protecting and which will be heavily used to accommodate social and economic needs. Social, economic and environmental factors are used in determining the WRCS management class that will be assigned to individual water resources by the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), in order to assess the costs and benefits associated with utilisation versus protection of these resources. Classification of water resources is already underway in several Water Management Areas (WMAs), and is planned in the remainder.
The classification of water resources is therefore of great significance to the biodiversity sector, and is of direct relevance to those organs of state mandated with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The aims of the workshop were to:
- Strengthen the technical ability of biodiversity champions to participate effectively in the classification process;
- Build links with peers who are playing similar roles in classification processes in other WMAs, in order for them to be able to share experiences, seek advice in dealing with challenges they face, and provide support to other members based on their own experience; and,
- Beyond the WRCS, advise SANBI and DEA on the description of river types and listing of threatened river ecosystems through the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act.
Presentations and resources shared over the two days can be accessed via the respective menu option on the left, under FEN 2013.