Held on Wednesday in Ekurhuleni, the meeting aimed to consult with stakeholders on water tariff increases prior to implementation in order to ensure proper governance and to uphold Batho Pele principles.
It also aimed to ensure transparency in the determination of raw water charges for public buy-in and support.
During the meeting, stakeholders raised issues for consideration prior to the finalization, approval, and implementation of the proposed water use charges.
The department's Deputy Director-General for Water Sector Regulation, Anil Singh, said water consultation affects various departments and role players, and it is crucial that the tariffs be discussed because they also reflect on the challenges faced by the department and the importance of tariff regulation.
The proposed tariff hikes for Water Resource Infrastructure and for both industrial and domestic users range from 0% to 16.5%.
Chief Water Resource Planner in the department, Tendani Nditwani, highlighted that South Africa invests R42 billion per year in water infrastructure and R13 billion in sanitation.
Nditwani emphasized the need for properly managing water and sanitation services while ensuring financial sustainability.
"This can be achieved by implementation of accurate billing and effective revenue management systems in all entities, including for the agricultural, industrial, commercial and domestic users," Nditwani said.
Acting Deputy Director-General for Infrastructure Development in the department, Leonardo Manus, said the department is working behind the scenes to ensure that water supply is not disrupted.
"Water sources and water volumes remain unchanged, and this is exacerbated by low rainfall across the country," Manus said.
Acting Chief Director of Water Quality Regulation, Marius Keet, said water quality is also a crucial aspect, which has an effect on the setting of water tariffs.
"Out of 186 monitored rivers, their ecological health varies from good to very poor. It is important that there is good water quality for users. We can't increase water prices while water quality deteriorates," he said.
(With Inputs from South African Government Press Release)