The partnership between the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), Agri SA and Agri Northern Cape has beared fruit and was lauded for its potential in the verification and validation campaign of water usage.The cooperation of water users is reported to have significantly assisted the process in reaching a large number of water users in the Northern Cape.This was confirmed by the chairperson of the Lower Orange River Forum (LORF), Moses Mahunonyane, when various water users of the Orange River met in Upington to discuss pertinent issues affecting them. The two-day meeting, on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 September, was attended by various stakeholders including the Black Mountain Mine, Transhex Operations, Orange River Wine Cellars, the Kakamas Water User Association, Carstens Boerdery, Noord-Oewer, Agri Northern Cape, as well as district and local municipalities. This was one of the series of public participation and information sessions that the DWS embarked on with stakeholder in an effort to validate and verify water use over the past three months.Mahunonyane expressed his satisfaction regarding the high attendance rate, which he regarded as an indication that more Orange River water users are starting to realise the importance of working as a collective.Given the current water challenges facing the country, he emphasised the significance to verify and validate whether or not water users complied with their license conditions.According to the chairperson, the Orange River system has suffered pollution as a result of effluent being disposed of improperly and affecting the river negatively. “The forum as a collective will have to come up with an action plan which may include the establishment of a water and sanitation community forum that will monitor and report transgressors,” he urged.Touching on the progress regarding the feasibility studies for the construction of the Vioolsdrift Dam in the Northern Cape, he revealed that it was going according to plan.“The construction of the dam will commence in 2024,” he said. This development is expected to enable the Northern Cape to store and keep water instead of it running off to the sea and also to significantly improve water availability in the Lower Orange River area.