Over the past few decades there has been a shift towards establishing local catchment organisations, to enable water resource management to address local concerns and facilitate local participation. South Africa adopted this approach, under the current Water Act. The Department of Water Affairs appointed us to establish the first two Catchment Management Agencies (CMA). It entailed support to the appointment of the Board, the development of a business strategy, through to the design of the organizational structure and systems.
As these were the first stakeholder-based catchment agencies in South Africa, we had to begin with an interpretation of the policy intent, supported by a review of international experience. Armed with an appropriate process, we started with the support to the Inkomati CMA by convening Board sessions to develop the strategy and business plan and assist the appointment of a CEO. During this process, a functionally based organizational design was established that allowed the immediate recruitment of staff to ensure early functionality. As with any organizational establishment, this required formulating organizational procedures and systems. With the later establishment of the Breede-Overberg CMA, lessons from the Inkomati were identified and used to refine the process, structures and systems. To date, both of these organisations have been effectively operating and fulfilling their mandate.