The then-Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs on 23 May 2014 established three new Catchment Management Agencies (CMA) under the National Water Act, No. 36 of 1998 (NWA). CMAs are responsible for the management of water resources within the defined catchment areas. The establishment of CMAs has the purpose of delegating water resource management to the regional or catchment level and to involve local communities within water management.

The three new CMAs are:

  • the Limpopo-North West CMA, located in the North West and Limpopo Provinces;
  • the Pongola-Umzimkulu CMA, located in KwaZulu-Natal; and
  • the Breede-Gouritz CMA, located in the Western Cape. (The Breede-Gourtiz CMA replaces the Breede-Overberg CMA.)

Each CMA, which is mandated to manage water resources in its catchment area, is required to develop a Catchment Management Strategy that will be the guiding document on how the usage of water will be regulated within that specific catchment area.

The CMAs serve as the first port of call in matters concerned with the management of water resources in their areas. Presently the powers are limited to the 'initial functions' provided for in the NWA. These include coordination of the related activities of water users within the water management area, investigation of the protection, use, conservation and management of water resources and the promotion of community participation in water resource management.

The CMAs may be delegated additional powers by the Minister of Water and Sanitation Affairs contained in Schedule 3 of the NWA, which include powers to manage, monitor, conserve and protect water resources and to make rules to regulate water use.

On the same date, the then-Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs proposed the establishment of the Olifants CMA. This proposal is available for inspection.