Some Legal Options to Ensure the Protection of South Africa's Utilisable Groundwater Resources




Groundwater governance, water law, protection, land use activities, hydrogeology


Groundwater, which is water that is found underground, is less susceptible than surface water resources to evaporation, and thus offers resilience against the impacts of climate change. Many South African cities, communities and farmers depend on groundwater for domestic or other socio-economic purposes. This implies that groundwater resources which are currently or potentially utilisable should be identified, and suitable legal measures should be implemented to protect these resources from potential risks of harm or damage posed by anthropogenic activity. This article firstly evaluates the effectiveness of the country's existing regulatory framework to effectively protect South Africa's groundwater resources and finds that the framework can be improved upon significantly. Secondly, it explores regulatory opportunities within the existing legal framework to strengthen South Africa's groundwater governance regime, including making use of land-use planning instruments to facilitate the implementation of groundwater protection zones.


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Author Biographies

Germarié Viljoen, Faculty of Law at the North-West University

Faculty of Law, NWU, Potchefstroom Campus

Carin Bosman, Carin Bosman Sustainable Solutions

Director, Carin Bosman Sustainable Solutions, South Africa




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How to Cite

Viljoen, G., & Bosman, C. (2022). Some Legal Options to Ensure the Protection of South Africa’s Utilisable Groundwater Resources. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, (Published 14 December 2022) pp 1 – 34.



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