Groundwater can also be used for purposes like flushing toilets, laundering textiles, cleaning and irrigating plants. Using groundwater is only an advisable option, and only permitted, in special circumstances. In many situations, using groundwater does not reflect established policy. The trend is to minimise withdrawals from groundwater and to reserve groundwater for high-grade purposes. As a rule, the quality of groundwater is high. Withdrawing groundwater can accelerate the salinisation or reduce calcium-rich seepage. Both effects are undesirable.
The ground can also be regarded as a temporary retention facility for precipitation. Withdrawing infiltrated precipitation or treated wastewater from the ground will not greatly upset the groundwater balance. All uses of groundwater, whether deeper groundwater or infiltrated water, always requires a permit from the provincial authorities.