It has come to our attention that some of our members have had inspections by the Department of Water & Sanitation (“DWS”) where DWS communicated to such members that they were required to apply to the DWS for authorisation to undertake genus exchange.
As we have previously communicated to members, FSA was granted various declaratory orders by the High Court to the effect that members would not need to apply to do genus exchange unless they have water use licences with a condition that specifically states that authorisation for genus exchange is required. If a member is uncertain as to whether or not their water use licences would fall under this exclusion you are welcome to contact us for advice.
The court case is still ongoing as we are appealing against the refusal of the court to grant the declaratory orders we asked for in relation to the interpretation of existing lawful water use. As such, the DWS have no authority (other than as specified above) to insist that members apply for authorisation for genus exchange at this point in time.
You are further reminded that while the court case is still ongoing, the DWS may not make any final determinations on existing lawful water uses by issuing determinations in terms of section 35(4) of the National Water Act, 1998.
If you have any queries regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.