South Africa (RSA) is a water scarce country challenged with transforming its unsustainably resource-intensive economy whilst also addressing the legacy of Apartheid. The adequate provision of water to RSA's citizens is one of the most significant challenges facing the country – and if a water crisis is to be averted, existing systems will need to be managed effectively. This will include ensuring that the plans and strategies within each sector related to water management – e.g. the National Development Plan (NDP) and the National Water Resource Strategy 2 (NWRS-2) – are aimed towards a common goal. This paper introduces a framework for achieving water sensitive settlements in RSA; defines what ‘water sensitivity’ means within the SA context; and discusses the relevance of this framework in relation to the NWRS-2 and the NDP, both of which could be seen as providing a complementary vision for the management of specific aspects of water resources management in RSA. The paper concludes by motivating for the adoption of the framework as a means of meeting the challenges facing the urban water management sector in SA and the goals embedded in the NDP and NWRS-2.