Concerns arise over proposed new regulations for recreation on dams

The Minister of Water and Sanitation has, in line with the National Water Act, released (draft) regulations concerning the access and usage of ‘government waterworks’ (dams) and adjoining state-owned land for recreational purposes. These new regulations aim to replace the previous ones dating back to 1965.

The term ‘government waterworks’ is now used to denote government-owned dams, encompassing a broad total of over 300 dams, which also includes specific sections of rivers such as the Vaal River Reservoir, adjacent to the Vaal Dam.

Regarding the list of government-owned dams, as provided on the DWAS website, there is a comprehensive inventory available.

A list of dams categorized by province is accessible on the official Department of Water & Sanitation website.

To access this information, visit:

It will state “invalid province”

Click on “Prov/Country” (option in the top line across the page) and then the province or provinces you are looking for.

To gather input from the public, the department is presently engaged in conducting stakeholder presentations across various provinces in the country.

Dr Jabulani Maluleke, the Director of Environmental Impact Monitoring for the department, has affirmed that written comments are encouraged and preferred. “While physical sessions will take place, attendees will be urged to submit their comments in written form to email addresses: and All comments will be carefully considered, assessed, and potentially integrated, with a response register subsequently generated.”

Below is a schedule of upcoming in-person events.

The current draft regulations which are detailed in both the attached Gazette and a PowerPoint presentation will have significant negative ramifications for any venue on the water front and who makes use of the water including boating.

FEDHASA (Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa) we will be formally communicating the impact of the proposed draft regulations to DWS.   

The last in person event is on the 4th October – so it is suggested that feedback to the department be provided by the 4th October 2023.

Download the relevant documentation below:


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