The Department of Water and Environment says it will soon start issuing compulsory water licences to farmers in some river-catchment areas in a bid to divert water to other priorities, such as Eskom's water-guzzling power stations.
Minister Buyelwa Sonjica, points out that licensing will begin in four of the most sensitive catchment areas ‘as soon as circumstances will allow’.
The move starts a tug-of-war for water, much of the scarce supply polluted by mines. South Africa has a shortage of clean water to cool new coal-fired power stations, and opposition from farmers and environmental groups, who say the state's fossil-fuel energy plan is unsustainable.
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