The classification system prescribed under the National Water Act (1998) provides guidelines on how to set appropriate levels of protection for water resources.
In essence, the classification process aims to define a resource with respect to the current impact on the resource. A range of factors can be considered, including recharge, groundwater use and contamination or expected contamination status. The difference between reference conditions and present status is used to assess the sustainability of current groundwater use and the stress status of the groundwater resource. A single present status category is assigned to each groundwater response unit, which in turn is used to determine the water resource category of each unit.
Why is classification important?
Classification of water resources is an integral part of the management and protection of water resources in South Africa.
*Relationship between present status category, desired status category and management class