This research article provides an overview of the policy process followed by the South African Government in developing and implementing the White Paper on a National Water Policy for South Africa between 1994 and 2003. The research is based on a report published by the South African Water Research Commission (WRC), which formed part of a project entitled: Consolidation and Transfer of Knowledge and Experience Gained in the Development and Implementation of Water and Related Policy in South Africa (WRC Project number K5/1295). An attempt was made in the research project to solicit lessons of experience from the last ten years and to suggest findings regarding future options. It was found that valuable experience exists that is relevant not only to present and future policy and strategy initiatives in South Africa but also to policy process development in a regional and global context. The review of the water policy process has included a deliberate attempt to apply a selected policy process model to the South African water policy process in order to attempt a systematic analysis of the process. Specific findings were made regarding policy and strategy processes, institutional capacity and policy research in the water sector. The findings of the study included a confirmation of the technical quality of the policy and identification of several opportunities and priorities in the implementation of water policy.

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