SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Occupational Certificate: Water Works Management Practitioner 
118808  Occupational Certificate: Water Works Management Practitioner 
Development Quality Partner - EWSETA 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 10 - Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences  Environmental Sciences 
Undefined  298  Not Applicable  NQF Level 06  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 0522/24  2022-02-03  2025-12-31 
2026-12-31   2029-12-31  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Water Works Management Practitioner. A Water Works Management Practitioner manages, operates, maintains, controls, assesses, and monitors the unit processes at water service works to produce potable water and treats wastewater as well as managing the associated waste streams under the authority of water service institutions.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Coordinate and execute risk-based water safety plans and operational activities within defined water services schemes.
  • Coordinate, monitor and evaluate operations and maintenance processes.
  • Manage, evaluate, and review plant production.
  • Coordinate plant and process optimisation.
  • Establish and manage the efficient use of plant resources.
  • Participate in project design planning and system commissioning.
  • Coordinate and manage customer complaints.

    Water scarcity is among the main problems facing societies around the world. The system and processing of drinking water and treatment of wastewater remain critical in South Africa and require competent water process controllers to operate at a high level to respond effectively to water demands.

    The water industry in South Africa faces some key challenges including an ageing workforce and ageing infrastructure and requires decision-makers in the industry to meet the skills challenges and demands of highly trained professionals in water process control to embrace innovative technologies to develop, manage and optimise environmentally sound and efficient water and wastewater treatment processes. This qualification reflects the need identified by the Department of Water and Sanitation to build the capacity of process controllers at a supervisory level or who may be at a leadership role to manage the operations of one or more water distribution systems or treatment plants to ensure that they operate at optimal and efficient levels, and maintaining compliance with legal, policy and regulatory requirements.

    The qualification will equip learners with water process control specialised knowledge and competencies to work autonomously either in drinking water or wastewater treatment to improve job performance. The qualification provides career pathing on the occupational qualification framework for process controllers at lower levels to articulate vertically to this qualification.

    Typical learners likely to enrol for this qualification are those who wish to qualify as Class V Process Controller in accordance with the Classification Code of Process Controllers in South Africa. The qualification provides qualifying learners opportunities to articulate vertically and horizontally to other engineering related qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). The overall benefits for the country include high quality water for sustainable socio-economic development at household and other sectors of the economy thus increasing its competitiveness and comparative advantage in the water sector internationally. 

    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
  • Learners will gain access to the qualification through RPL for Access as provided for in the QCTO RPL Policy. RPL for access is conducted by accredited education institution, skills development provider or workplace accredited to offer that specific qualification/part qualification.
  • Learners who have acquired competencies of the modules of a qualification or part qualification will be credited for modules through RPL.

    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces must confirm prior learning by issuing a statement of result.

    Entry Requirements:
    The minimum entry requirement for this qualification is:
  • NQF Level 4 qualification with Mathematics, Science (Physical Science or Engineering Science) and Communication. 


    This qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules
  • 313203-003-00-KM-01, Water Related Legislation, Regulations, By-laws, Policies and Best Practice in Water Services Works, Level 6, 5 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-02, Water Demand Management, Level 7, 10 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-03, Risk Management in Water Services Works, Level 6, 25 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-04, Operations and Maintenance of Water Services Works, Level 6,
    25 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-05, Strategic Planning and Financial Management, Level 5, 10 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-06, Human Management and Development, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-07, Project Management in Water Services Works, Level 6, 8 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-08, Stakeholder Management in Water Services Works, Level 4,
    5 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-KM-09, Environmental Waste Management, Level 5, 10 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 103

    Practical Skill Modules
  • 313203-003-00-PM-01, Review Risk Assessment Plans and Implement Control Measures, Level 7, 30 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-PM-02, Review the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Unit Processes, Level 6,
    15 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-PM-03, Gather, Analyse and Interpret Plant Statistics for Plant Optimisation,
    Level 7, 15 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-PM-04, Manage Assets within the Water Services Works, Level 6, 25 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-PM-05, Implement Stakeholder Management Plan, Level 5, 5 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 90

    Work Experience Modules
  • 313203-003-00-WM-01, Risk Management Processes, Level 7, 30 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM-02, Plant Operations Processes and Protocol, Level 7, 12 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM-03, Plant Maintenance Processes and Protocols, Level 6, 8 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM-04, Plant Optimisation Processes, Level 7, 15 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM-05, Resource Planning and Management Processes, Level 6, 20 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM-06 Project Design Planning, Commissioning and Contractual Processes,
    Level 6, 12 Credits.
  • 313203-003-00-WM -07, Customer Services Processes, Level 5, 8 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 105 

    1. Apply knowledge and understanding to review or develop a wastewater risk abatement plan and water safety plan.
    2. Coordinate and manage unit processes optimisation.
    3. Monitor and evaluate operations and maintenance processes.
    4. Evaluate and manage plant resources for effective, efficient, and sustainable water services.
    5. Establish and promote good customer relations in the water services works environment. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Evaluate and classify potential risks and threats in terms of their impact, and appropriate responses to mitigate the risks recommended for a defined water services works.
  • Explain the significance of the wastewater risk abatement plan and waters safety plan in terms of the applicable legislation, regulations, and standards.
  • Make recommendations on how to mitigate the hazards and risks indicating responsibilities, timeframes, and resources, given a high-risk scenario.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Analyse water demand, chemical consumption, and water quality using water plant production data, and operational areas and determine unit processes where performance can be optimised.
  • Analyse given wastewater process data, chemical consumption, and effluent quality, determine and coordinate operational areas including unit processes where performance for unit processes optimisation.
  • Evaluate plant performance and make recommendations for plant optimisation from an operational perspective.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Conduct plant site inspection, identify, prioritise, and evaluate different mechanical equipment with defects, and recommend different maintenance methods/strategies.
  • Explain plant shutdown for plant commissioning and de-commissioning in accordance with statutory requirements and plant standard operating procedures.
  • Assign specific tasks to relevant personnel, coordinate and control activities and protocol for plant shutdown, apply plant commissioning and de-commissioning in accordance with plant standard operating procedures to meet statutory requirements.
  • Explain and apply protocol in managing operational incident(s) or emergencies in line with organisational requirements and plant standard operating procedures.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Verify and update the asset register, and determine the asset value, considering the depreciation and replacement values of the assets.
  • Use a set of documentation to determine the depreciation value, service record and life expectancy of the assets relative to the applicable maintenance philosophy.
  • Explain the differences between capital and operational budgets and monitor and control budget expenditure in accordance with the applicable legislative and accounting practices to avoid unauthorised expenditures including wasteful and fruitless expenditures.
  • Develop and recommend an organisational structure with associated job descriptions to ensure sustainable water services works in line with water services works classification in terms of the applicable regulations.
  • Identify competencies required per job specifications and make recommendations for capacity building interventions to ensure quality and sustainable water supply services.
  • Ensure that compliance with statutory and organisational policies and procedures is evident in employee grievances and disciplinary actions.
  • Identify and link causes of plant breakdown to the asset register and document a motivation for equipment replacement in accordance with policies and procedures.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Document common issues affecting customers in the water services works and apply good customer care principles and practices to manage the queries and complaints in accordance with good practice standards.
  • Communicate the potential impact of water services in the community proactively and effectively through effective means of communication to prevent potential problems and to establish and promote relationships including building trust with the public.

    Integrated Assessment
    Integrated formative assessment:
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment together with work experience leads to entrance in the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated summative assessment:
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcomes and associated assessment criteria. 

    An international comparability was conducted in Australia and New Zealand to determine broad offerings intended for individuals who manage operations of all processes in water and wastewater works. The search focused on the occupational frameworks and qualifications that are targeted at Water and Wastewater practitioners at supervisory or management levels.

    Simmonds & Bristow: NWP50118 Diploma of Water Industry Operations
    This qualification is occupationally based and is aimed at learners who are engaged in water industry operations. The qualification is comprised of a total of 10 units of competency (2 core units and 8 electives in areas of specialisations in asset management, control centre operations, hydrographic survey, hydrology, hydrometric monitoring, irrigation: networks, source and trade waste and treatment). The qualification compares favourably with the South African qualification in terms of scope, content, and structure although it is comprised of core and elective unit standards. It is similar in structure in that it integrates theory, practical training, and on-the-job training where learners must also complete a workplace readiness assessment conducted at the workplace. The qualification, however, varies slightly with the South African in terms of level, duration and entry requirements as the Australian qualification is pegged at level 5, and that it is a 1-year qualification whereas the South Africa qualification is pegged at level 6 and is offered within 2 years. It also differs with the South African qualification in that there are no entry requirements for the qualification. The modules covered include compulsory and elective modules.

    Compulsory Modules
  • Interpret and comply with regulatory requirements.
  • Develop and maintain a safe workplace.

    Elective Modules
  • Ensure a safe workplace for a work area.
  • Lead initial response to and investigate WHS incidents.
  • Manage WHS risks.
  • Lead WHS risk management.
  • Lead initial response to and investigate WHS incidents.
  • Coordinate and monitor groundwater system usage.
  • Measure discharge and process discharge data using a range of methods
    and equipment.
  • Undertake sampling and testing of water.
  • Develop emergency management plans.
  • Collect, organise, and interpret statistical data for work.
  • Develop workplace communication strategies.
  • Collect and evaluate groundwater data.
  • Undertake project work.
  • Undertake project investigation.
  • Establish connections of water and wastewater systems.
  • Manage WHS consultation and participation processes.
  • Manage budgets and financial plans.
  • 06 Implement and manage environmental management policies.
  • Establish incident response preparedness and response systems.
  • Plan to manage a contract.
  • Contribute to assessment.
  • Support the learning and development of teams and individuals.
  • Manage people performance.
  • Manage business operational plans.
  • Manage a small team.
  • Facilitate continuous improvement.

    New Zealand
    Connexis Infrastructure ITO: 4139 Diploma in Water Treatment.
    The Diploma in Water Treatment is the qualification that is closest to the South African qualification in terms of target group, entry requirements, scope, duration, and content, but varies in terms of level. The qualification is aimed at people who are at supervisory or management levels who manage the operation of one or more water treatment plants to ensure they are operating at optimal level and maintaining compliance with regulatory requirements. The qualification is stranded to recognise the specialist skills required to work in either drinking water or wastewater treatment plants.

    The duration of the qualification is 20 months comprising theory and on-site assessment of practical competence. The modules covered include compulsory and elective modules.

    Compulsory Modules
  • Manage visitors, external contractors, and/or lead staff in a water treatment plant environment, 10 Credits.
  • Manage and optimise drinking water treatment plant operations and ensure compliance with relevant legislation, and current New Zealand drinking-water standards, 90 Credits.
  • Manage risks to public health in a drinking -water treatment plant environment, 20 Credits.

    Elective Modules
  • Manage and optimise a wastewater treatment plant to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, 80 Credits.
  • Manage risks in a wastewater treatment plant environment, 30 Credits.

    The Water Works Management Practitioner occupational qualification compares well with both qualifications found in Australia and New Zealand. The qualifications compare favourably with the South African occupational qualification especially in relation to the competencies required for learners operating at supervisory or management levels in a water treatment plant. The similarities are in terms of the target group, scope, and content as well as entry requirements in case of the New Zealand qualification but vary slightly in terms of level and duration. 

    This qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Advanced Certificate in Water Treatment, NQF Level 6.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Bachelor of Science in Environment and Water Science, NQF Level 7. 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required knowledge and practical modules by means of statements of results and a record of completed work experience.

    Additional Legal or Physical Entry Requirements:
  • None.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers

    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code are: Water Works Management Practitioner, 313203-003-00.

    Encompassed Trades:
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD:
  • Not applicable as this qualification is not a trade.

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
  • Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.