Stakeholders input into review of the Water Act
The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate with the technical support from the IMT conducted a stakeholder consultative workshop on the Water Act in Bulawayo. The purpose of the stakeholder consultative workshop was to gather views and comments on the alignment of the Water Act from stakeholders. Stakeholders that attended the workshop include representatives from Civil Society, representatives from various Line Ministries, Sub-Catchment Councils, Catchment Councils and other key stakeholders which include the Environmental Management Agency, the Forestry Commission, Meteorological Services Department, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the District Development Fund.
One of the major issues discussed at the workshop was the constitutional right to water and whether it can be realised in terms of the Water Act. Stakeholders recommended harmonising all water-related legislations in order to ensure effective realisation of the right to water which is envisaged in section 77 of the Constitution.
Stakeholders reflected on a number of aspects that need to be provided for in the Water Act. Stakeholders proposed that the “polluter pays principle” must be explicitly provided for in the Water Act so as ensure that polluters are held accountable for their actions and also to ensure that actors do as much as they can to prevent or mitigate water pollution where prevention is not feasible. In the same vein, stakeholders were of the view that the Water Act must have provisions on criminal sanctions and ensure that commensurate fines are charged for any offences in violation of the Act.
Stakeholders raised concerns on whether the Zimbabwe National Water Authority should regulate issuing of licences and be a player at the same time.