Water Quality



The Environmental Unit is responsible for monitoring water quality status of the rivers and reservoirs in the KOBWA area of operational for the assessment of compliance with the Ecological Water Requirements (EWR). This Unit is also involved in monitoring and controlling the infestation of alien vegetation that is known to reduce both water availability and biodiversity.

KOBWA is required by various legislations to undertake water quality monitoring in the Komati River Basin. The relevant legislations include:

The Comprehensive Mitigation Plans

National legislation in both South Africa and Swaziland require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Comprehensive Mitigation Plan (CMP) to be compiled before a project of the magnitude of the Komati River Basin Development project is undertaken. The CMP binds the project proponent to its implementation. The CMP prescribes a water quality-monitoring program and is very specific on the variables to be measured and the frequency of measurement. The program covers both compliance (during construction) and status monitoring (post construction). Flow transformations caused by release patterns on the dams are mitigated through special design of Dam intakes and outlet works, as well as the implementation of Instream Flow Requirement (IFR) releases (also known as Ecological Water Requirements).


National Water Acts

National legislations in both countries specifies water quality objectives and standards for various uses. The Water Act (2003) and the Draft Water Pollution Control Regulations in Swaziland are key legislations setting water pollution standards. The National Water Act No.36 of 1998 (NWA) and the Water Quality Classification System (DWAF 2002a) in South Africa defines the fitness of use, where water quality standards for irrigation, domestic, aquatic ecosystem health etc. are defined. It is important that KOBWA ensure compliance with these legal instruments when delivering water from the dams.

The Treaty on the Development and Utilization of the Water Resources of the Komati River Basin which states the following:

  • The Parties shall take all reasonable measures to ensure the protection of the quality of the existing environment [article 14(1)(b)].
  • The Parties shall prevent water pollution and minimize erosion [(article 14(6)(b)].
  • The Joint Water Commission (JWC) treaty further tasks the Parties (South Africa and Swaziland) with the prevention and control over the pollution of water resources and soil erosion affecting the resources and utilization. It also tasks the Parties to take the necessary steps to minimize waste and non-beneficial use of water from the Komati River Basin within their respective territories.