The Mayephu Village, situated inDzumeri, Giyani, falls within Ward 27ofthe Mopani District
Municipality. This rural community has 365 households, housing a total population of 1,940
people. The village's water supply has undergone significant changes overthe years,
influenced by climate change, infrastructural inefficiencies, and load shedding.
Initially, water for Mayephu Village was sourced from the Letavi River through a bulk supply
scheme until around 2007.However, water shortages and supply unreliability emerged as
challenges.In response, the community transitioned toa system relying on three community-
level boreholes, installed in 2007, 2016, and 2022, respectively. These boreholes pump water
to a village reservoir, which is then distributed through approximately 108 communal
In addition to these communal water sources, many households in Mayephu have their private
boreholes, estimated to be around 120 boreholes. Some of these boreholes predate the
introductionof the bulk water scheme in the area.
Water Use in the Village
The water supply system operates by filling the village reservoir, with a capacity of 700,000
liters, once a week. Pumping continues for six days to achieve this goal, and taps are opened
on Friday afternoons. By thenext day,the reservoir isempty, and the pumping cycle restarts.
Water allocation and operation are managedby a15-member water committee, including a pump
operator employed through the Mopani District Municipality. The committee represents
various stakeholders, including traditional and ward councils, cooperatives, and the livestock
Households in Mayephu have adapted to this system by acquiring containers (25 liters), drums
(210 liters), and JoJo tanks (2200 liters) to store water for the week. These containers are
filled from standpipes or informal tap connections in their yards. It's estimated that there
are close to 300 of these "informal" taps in the village.
Household Categories
In Mayephu village, households can be categorized into fourmain groups based on their water
storage and access:
1. Group 1 (< 20L per person per day allocation):These households, constituting about17% of the
total,are extremely vulnerable and impoverished. They often consist of woman-headed
households, pensioners, newcomers, or "foreigners." They relyon communalstandpipes for
2. Group 2 (< 40L per person per day): This group is somewhat more secure, with access to yard
taps. Around 25% of households fall into this category, and some engage in small-scale
productive activities like gardening.
3. Group 3 (< 90L per person per day): Similar to Group 2, these households have access to more
water storage options and generally have containers, drums and 2500l JoJo tanks. They
engage in limited productive activities, mainly small household gardens averaging around 200
square meters. Roughly 24% of the community falls within this category.
4. Group 4 (> 200L per person perday):Households in this category, constituting around 33%,
have their private
boreholes in
addition to the
mentioned water
storage options.
They enjoy access to
small livestock, and
fruit orchards.
Right: Water access options in
Mayephu village; communal
standpipes, Yard connections
with some storage, private
boreholes with more
substantial storage.
Water Use Practices
In reality, only households in Group 4,with their private boreholes, have managed to maintain
reasonablysized household gardens (200-400 square meters). Households in Group 3, with
JoJo tanks filled from the communal system, often have smaller gardens(20-100 square
meters). Households in Groups 1 and 2 are less active in productive activities.
Irrigation practices in the gardens mainly involve hosepipes and buckets for adaptations of short
furrow irrigation, or drip irrigation. Householders are well aware of water salinity issues and
have adjusted their crop varieties, watering routines, and soil management practices
The Mayephu Village's water use practices demonstrate a clear progression from no productive
activities to household gardens, small livestock, and fruit trees, depending on the consistent
availability of water.Despite the challenges posed by climate change and waterscarcity,
community members are intrinsically aware of water demandfor productive activities and
adapt their practices accordingly.
Dryland field cropping, once common, has become unviable under current climatic conditions,
pushing villagers towards more water-efficient gardening methods. While challenges persist,
including equitable water access and addressing salinity issues, the community's resilience
and adaptive
practices are
evident in their
Right: Examples of water
use activities including
diversified homestead
food gardens, fruit
production and small
livestock husbandry.
Although roof rainwater harvesting is practices by almost all households, this is not a focus as
storage options are very limited. Foreseeably, a greater focus and more support in this area
can improve the management of limited water resources in the village substantially.
Mayephu Village's experience highlights the importanceof sustainable water management and
the integral roleof water in supporting household livelihoods and local food production.
- Van Koppen, B., et al. (2009). Multiple Use Services (MUS) for water. Retrieved from [link].
- Jovanovic, A., & Maswanganye, S. (November 2022). Mayephu Water Management System
Analysis. [Internal Report].