In the face of a developing economy, Government has recognised the need for a renewed approach towards Water Quality Management as critical if water is to be managed sustainably. A policy, strategy and implementation actions is developed that is pragmatic, implementable and appropriate to the future institutional and governance landscape.
Here a spotlight on only the four high-level principles published, being decision making, sustainable development, stakeholder engagement and management and governance.
All the relevant principles are considered, in line with current legisaltion.
Decision makers must -
An appropriate quantity and quality of water is reserved for the healthy functioning of aquatic ecosystems.
The current generation has a moral responsibility to protect the healthy functioning of ecosystems by -
Preventing pollution, both by preventing degradation of water resources and in particular water quality in the first place, and preventing further degradation of that which is negatively impacted.
Reducing waste, including recycling, waste treatment, and use of cleaner technologies
Adopting the precautionary approach when a lack of scientific certainty exists to ensure conservative decisions minimise the risk
Using a differentiated approach to ensure that catchment specific conditions are taken into account
Recognising that implementing remediation in some catchments will require more than controlling currect active water use to maintain or improve water quality
Ensuring effective stakeholder engagement
Optimal Water Use
Value based pricing
Virutal water use, including importing products from areas which are less water-stressed
Equity between generations, acknolwedging that future generations have the same basic rights to sufficient water and healthy ecosystems
Current equitable access which incudes consideration of strategic national priorities ranked -
Honouring international agreements
Strategic uses (such as electricity generation)
Strategic future growth (in special circumstances)
Environmental Integration considers the physcial, chemical and biological components, and the processes within natural water resources
The principles which enable comprehensive consultation include -
Inclusive involvement which allows all stakeholders' views to be given due consideration
Empowerment to participate ensures all stakeholders have the capacity to contribute meaningfully
Constructive cooperation strives for a combined effort by all role players that is positively productive
Efficient and effective engagement by keeping all role players focussed, and maintaining a clear goal-driven process
Adaptive management strives for continuous management improvement by balancing robustness with flexibility
Cooperative governancne supprot legislative alignment
Sound financial management through transparency and accountability
Prudent pragmatism strives to apply with caution more practical methods as a basis for decision making, including the Precautionary approach
Gender equity strives to ensure that women in rural communities are recognised as primary stakeholders
Value-based pricing which includes the polluter pays* principle, full cost recovery, equitable affordability and acknowledgement of the contribution water makes to our spiritual wellbeing.
*Polluter pays: Those using resources, receiving a service or producing waste, should carry the costs and the responsibility for pollution arising from the use of such resources, from the use of the service and from the associated production of waste.