This review paper on groundwater protection measures in South Africa focuses on the actual implementation of groundwater protection measures, in particular, the resource-directed measures (RDM) as described in Chapter 3 of the National Water Act (NWA). Significant catchment-wide implementation of RDM has taken place in a phased manner throughout various catchments since 2012. By 2015, approximately R380 million had been expended on the catchment-wide implementation of the water resource protection measures over a period of 15 years. Considerable effort went into refining the RDM methodology, taking into account the groundwater component of the overall resource. In this paper, we contend that RDM, in its present form, will not make a significant contribution to groundwater resource protection and security in the country. This is a major concern because the Groundwater Strategy of the Department of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS) had declared the protection of groundwater as a national priority. This paper also examines institutional and governance arrangements (or lack thereof) as well as providing recommendations to support the effective implementation of groundwater protection provisions as prescribed by South Africa's water legislation.


  • Groundwater protection measures and its significant catchment-wide implementation to date.

  • Resource-directed measures methodology.

  • Groundwater Reserve determination.

  • Water resource classification and resource quality objectives.

  • Implementation of water resource legislative and scientific measures.

This content is only available as a PDF.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits copying and redistribution for non-commercial purposes with no derivatives, provided the original work is properly cited (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).