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Water Act (Cap. 20:24).

Type of law
Date of original text

An Act to provide for the management, administration, and conservation of water resources in Zimbabwe.
The Act consists of 123 sections divided into 12 Parts: Preliminary (I); Water Resources Planning and Development (II); Establishment, Functions and Procedures of Catchment Councils (III); Use of Water (IV); Water Shortage Areas (V); Water Quality Control and Environment Protection (VI); Servitudes in Respect of Water (VII); Combined Water Schemes (VIII); Safety of Dams (IX); Appeals (X); General (XI); Repeals and Savings.
Section 2 contains a long list of interpretations, including: "primary purposes"(in relation to the use of water); "water; "surface water"; "institutional purposes (in relation to the use of water); "catchment area"; and "groundwater". Subject to this Act, all water is vested in the President (sect. 3). No water shall be owned or used by private persons, except in accordance with the present Act. Section 6 outlines the general functions of the Minister of Rural Resources and Water Management. Section 9 defines powers of officers appointed under section 7 for the better conservation and use of water resources. The Minister may declare, under section 11 and after consultation with the National Water Authority, any catchment area, group of catchment areas and any aquifer in the areas concerned to be a river system. The Authority and the catchment council concerned, established under section 20, shall prepare an outline water development plan for every river system (sect. 12). These plans shall contain the information outlined in section 13. Section 23 of Part III defines principles to be observed by catchment councils in considering applications for the permits for the use of water. Other functions of catchment councils are outlined in section 21. For each catchment council a manager ("catchment manager") shall be appointed under section 28. Section 32 of Part IV regulates the use of water for primary purposes. Catchment councils may limit the water abstracted for primary purpose. The Minister may declare water shortage areas on the recommendation of the National Water Authority. Section 62 defines the powers of catchment councils in respect of water shortage areas. Owners of land may petition for combined water schemes under section 87. Subsequent sections provide for the allocation of water use rights under such schemes.
Long title of text
An Act to provide for the development and utilisation of water resources of Zimbabwe; to provide for the establishment, powers and procedures of catchment councils and subcatchment councils; to provide for the grant of permits for the use of water; to provide for the control of the use of water when water is in short supply; to provide for the acquisition of servitudes in respect of water; to provide for the protection of the environment and the prevention and control of water pollution; to provide for the approval of combined water schemes; to provide for matters relating to dam works; to repeal the Water Act (Chapter 20:22); and to provide for matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.
Date of consolidation/reprint
Entry into force notes
Entry into force on a date to be fixed by the President.
Consolidated version of Act No. 31 of 1998 as amended last by Act No. 6 of 2005.
Source language


Legislation Amendment