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An Analysis of Evolution of Water Rights in South African Society: An Account of Three Hundred Years

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Tewari, Devi Datt
Date: 2002
Agency: Division of Economics, University of Natal, Durban, King George Vth Ave, Durban, South Africa
Series: Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Management
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/3849
Sector: History
Water Resource & Irrigation
Region: Africa
Subject(s): water resources
riparian rights
property rights
Abstract: "This article reviews the historical development path of water rights in South Africa during the last 300 years or so. The basic finding is that water rights have come to a full circle . As early as 1652, the Dutch Company rulers declared water as public commodity and dominis fluminis status of the state, thus imposing Roman-Dutch law in the country. The British on the other hand privatized water and linked it with land tenure, thus establishing the supremacy of the riparian principle over dominus fluminis status of the state. Apartheid governments tried to swing the balance again to the Roman-Dutch law. The current democratic government has defined water as public resource; sustainable management and equitable distribution are its two major concerns."

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