Submitted to:
Executive Manager: Water Utilisation in Agriculture
Water Research Commission
Project team:
Mahlathini Development Foundaction(MDF)
Erna Kruger
Temakholo Mathebula
Betty Maimela
Nqe Dlamini
Institute of Natural Resources (INR)
Brigid Letty
Environmental and Rural Solutions (ERS)
Nickie McCleod, Sissie Mathela
Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD)
Derick du Toit
Project Number: C2022/2023-00746
Project Title: Dissemination and scaling of a decision support framework for CCA for smallholder
farmers in South Africa
Deliverable No.6: Case studies: encouraging community ownership of water and natural resources access
and management.
Date: 28 February 2024
Table of Contents
2.Process planning and progress to date..........................................................................................5
Smallholder farmers in climate resilient agriculture learning groups............................................6
Communication and innovation.....................................................................................................9
Multistakeholder platforms...........................................................................................................9
3.Community owned water access guidelines and case studies.....................................................10
3.3Problem Statement.............................................................................................................12
3.4Legislative Framework........................................................................................................13
3.5Rural Water Service Provision Experiences in South Africa................................................16
a.KwaZulu Government Regional Councils............................................................................16
b.Non-Government Organisations.........................................................................................17
c.Collaborative government-led approach............................................................................18
3.6Community based management models and approaches.................................................19
b.Co-managed water supply options.....................................................................................20
a.Approaches and methodologies.........................................................................................20
b.Governance considerations................................................................................................21
3.8example: Co-management of water supply services..........................................................27
3.9Case examples Community owned water schemes............................................................45
a.Governance considerations................................................................................................62
4.Work plan: March -August 2024..................................................................................................65
This section provides a brief summary of the project vision, outcomes and operational details.
Vertical and horizontal integration of this community- based climate change adaptation (CbCCA)
model and process leads to improved water and environmental resources management,
improved rural livelihoods and improved climate resilience for smallholder farmers in communal
tenure areas of South Africa.
1.Scaling out and scaling up of the CRA frameworks and implementation strategies lead to
greater resilience and food security for smallholder farmers in their locality.
2.Incorporation of the smallholder decision support framework and CRA implementation into
a range of programmatic and institutional processes
3.Improved awareness and implementation of appropriate agricultural and water
management practices and CbCCA in a range of bioclimatic and institutional settings
4.Contribution of a robust CC resilience impact measurement tool for local, regional and
national monitoring processes.
5.Concrete examples and models for ownership and management of local group-based water
access and infrastructure.
Create and strengthen integrated institutional frameworks and mechanisms for
scaling up proven multi-benefit approaches that promote collective action and
coherent policies.
Scaling up integrated approaches and practices in CbCCA.
Monitoring and assessment of environmental benefits and agro-ecosystem
Improvement of water resource management and governance, including
community ownership and bottom-up approaches.
Deliverable Title
Target Date
Desk top review for CbCCA
in South Africa
Desk top review of South African policy,
implementation frameworks and
stakeholder platforms for CCA.
R100 000,00
Report: Monitoring
framework, ratified by
multiple stakeholders
Exploration of appropriate monitoring
tools to suite the contextual needs for
evidence-based planning and
R100 000,00
Handbook on scenarios and
options for successful
smallholder financial
Summarize VSLA interventions in SA, Govt
and Non-Govt and design best bet
implementation process for smallholder
microfinance options.
services within the South
Development of CoPs and
multi stakeholder platforms
Design development parameters, roles
and implementation frameworks for CoPs
at all levels, CRA learning groups,
Innovation and multi stakeholder
platforms; within the CbCCA framework.
Report: Local food systems
and marketing strategies
contextualized - Guidelines
for implementation
Guidelines and case studies for building
resilience in local food systems and local
marketing strategies towards sustainable
local food systems (local value chain)
Case studies: encouraging
community ownership of
water and natural resources
access and management
Case studies (x3) towardsproviding an
evidence base for encouraging community
ownership of natural resource
management through bottom-up
approaches and institutional recognition
of these processes.
Case studies: CbCCA
implementation case studies
in 3 different agroecological
zones in SA
CbCCA implementation case studies in 3
different agroecological zones within
South Africa
Refined CbCCA decision
support framework with
updated databases and CRA
Refined CbCCA DSS database and
methodology with inclusion of further
viable and appropriate CRA practices
Manual for implementation
of successful
multistakeholder platforms
in CbCCA
Methodology and process manual for
successful multi stakeholder platform
development in CbCCA
Final Report
Final report: Summary of all findings,
guidelines and case studies, learning and
(Feb 2026)
Deliverable6 focusses on an analysis of the historical and present institutional and governancefactors
in rural water supply systems and arguments for promotion of community managed and owned water
access systems with a number of case studies to outline learnings and potential examples as
prototypes for implementation.
The intention is threefold, as describe below and shown in the diagram:
Expand introduction and implementation of the CbCCA DSS framework within the areas of
operation of MDFwith a number of different communities. Work with existing communities
as the basis of the case studies in specific thematic areas.
Introduce and implement the CbCCA DSS framework with a range of other role-players
expanding into new areas, including different agroecological zones and
Work at multistakeholder level to introduce the methodology as an option for adaptation
planning and action, both within civil society and also including Government stakeholders.
This is the first step towards institutionalization of the processand will involve mainly working
within existing multistakeholder platforms and networks as the starting point.
Further exploration of the categories of stakeholders and the roles and relationships between
stakeholders is important for the present research brief.
Figure 1: Conceptualization of stakeholder platforms at multiple levels to support CbCCA
Smallholder farmers in climate resilient agriculturelearning groups
This process has been initiatedby continuing and strengthening specificCRA learning groups,which
have been supported by MDF in the past and whohave done well in implementation and building of
social agency. These groups will provide the focus for further exploration of food systems, water
stewardship and governance and engagement with local and district municipalities.
CRA learning group summary:
No of participants
Ezibomvini, Stulwane, Vimbukahlo, Eqeleni, Emadakaneni
Ozwathini,Gobizembe, Mayizekanye, Ndlaveleni
Mahhehle,Mariathal, Centocow, Plainhill, Ngongonini
Sedawa, Turkey, Mulati, Santeng, Worcester, Sophaya
Ned, Nchodu, Nkau, Rashule, Mzongwana
Table 1: Micro-level CoP engagement:February 2023to February 2024
Note: Collaborative strategies in bold undertaken during this reporting period
Establishing learning groups at
village level
2022/11/25, 12/09
2022/11/15, 11/29,
Limpopo: Sophaya
SKZN: Mahhehle -CCA workshop x 2 days,
Bergville: Eqeleni
Innovation and multistakeholder platforms-
Communication and innovation
Smallholder farmers in CRA learning groups
National Networks e.g. Adaptation
network, Agroecology Network
National organistions e.g., PGS-SA and
Regional forums e.g., Water Source
Areas forums (WWF) Living
catchments Forums (SANBI)
Cluster of LGs within and between
areas learn and implement CRA
These clusters ineteract with external
stakeholders e.g., NGOs, Government
Deparments, Local and District
Municipalities, traditional authorities
and Water Service authorities
Individual farmers in LGs learn and
implement CRA together
LG's set up other interest groups and
committees e.g., water committees,
viallge savings and loan assocations,
marketing groups, livestock associations
and resource conservaiotn agreements
2023/06/15, 07/07
EC: Ned, Nkau
Limpopo: Madeira
KZN Midlands: Ndlaveleni, Montobello, Noodsberg, Inkuleleko primary
Training and mentoring for
climate resilient agriculture
2022/02/27, 03/28
2022/03/08, 03/17,
2023/04/, 2023/05,
2023/04/21,25, 05/26,
Midlands: Ozwathini contouring workshop SKZN: Mahhehle tower
EC-Matatiele: Dripirrigation workshops in 5 villages
SKZN: CA demonstration workshops in 3 villages
SKZN: Plainhill Drip irrigation training
Limpopo: Sofaya trench beds
SKZN: Mahhehle tower gardens, poultry production, trench beds
SKZN: Mariathal gardens and experimentation
Bgvl: Madakaneni, Mahlathinigardening training
EC: Ned, Nchodu poultry production
EC: Nec, Nchodu, Mzongwana- Pest and disease control
Limpopo and KZN: trench bed training with assembling of tunnels for 45
households across 8 villages, including distribution of seedlings, mixed
cropping and mulching learning inputs and drip irrigation
Limpopo: Willows, Sedawa, MametjaSophaya. Bergville-Matwetha,
EmadakaneniNatural Pest and Disease control
Bergville, SKZN: Poultry production: eMadakaeneni, Mjwetha, Mariathal,
EC: Ned, Nkau, Rashule, Nchodu- Soil and water conservation
Matatiele: Multipurposechicken production and cage construction
(Ned(13), Rashule(22), Nchodu(23)
Matatiele: Nchodu -Value Adding training (32)
Limpopo: Boschvelder feeding and management training x 5 villages (50
Limpopo (30): CA demonstrations and farmer level experimentation:
intercropping cover crops
Cyclical implementation through
mentoring for capacity
development for LG at local level
CCA review and planning workshops
-Bergville: CA review and planning (5)
-Midlands: CA review and planning (3)
-Limpopo: CCA review and planning (4)
CCA prioritization of practices
-Matatiele: 5 villages (Ned, Nchodu, Rahsule, Nkau, Mzongwana
-All areas: garden monitoring, poultry support,tunnel and drip kit
installations,VSLAs monthly meetings, CA production and monitoring
KZN-Bergville Boschvelderchicken delivery and maintenance mentoring
for 45 participants
KZN: Bergville_CA farmer experimentationplanting for 124
participants, incl cover cropsawa collaboration with Forge Agri to
Fodder Beet trials and Zylem SA for new Maize variety trials
Midlands: Seedling nursery project initiation for youth groupin
Gobizembe (11 members)
Income diversification and
economic empowerment of
local farmers (LG at local level)
03/03, 04/03, 05/02,
06/02, 07/04, 08/05,
09/03, 10/05,
2022/10/08, 11/07,
12/02, 2023/01/27,
02/07, 07/04, 08/05,
Market days: monthly farmers markets
-Midlands: Bamshela (Ozwathini)
-SKZN: Creighton (Centocow)
-Ubuhlebezwe LED Ixopo flea market
- Bergville: Bergville town
Market exploration workshops
-Midlands: Mayizekanye, Gobizembe
-EC_Ned-Nchodu market day in Matatiele
-SKZN: Mariathal
PGS follow-up w/s Limpopo
SKZN: Mahhehle
VSLA introduction
-SKZN: Mahhehle
VSLA meetings and share outs
-Bergville: 9
-SKZN: Ngongonini (2), Centocow (4)
-Midlands: Ozwathini (6)
July-Sept 2023
Limpopo: (7)
Youth tala table value adding training.
-Livelihoods survey- all areas
Implementation and capacity
development for innovation (3)
and multi-stakeholder platforms
May-July 2023
2023/03/30, 06/02
2023/08/23, and 09/27
-SKZN: Centocow P&D control cross visit and learning workshop
-uThukela water source forum: Visioning and action planning Bergville
-Adaptation Network AGM
-Regenerative Agric farmers’ day in Bergville incl Asset research,
uThukela Water Source Forum, uThukela Development Agency
-Adaptation Network: CCA financing dialogue
-SANBI_gender mainstreaming dialogue
-WRC-ESS: Bglv Ezibomvini, Stulwane resource management mapping
and planning
Bergillve:Stulwnae weekly community resource management workdays
-Okahlamba LED forum
-Farmers X visit between Bulwer (supported by the INR0 and Bergville
around CRA, fodder and restoration
-PGS-SA: market training input: Online training Session 5
-Giyani Local Scale Climate resilience Project: Introduction of CCA model
and local water governance options.
-World Vision: CCA workshops for women cooperatives and LED project
(60 participants)
-Giyani Climate resilience project: Input into WRC reference group
-KZN DARD_ Okahlamba Agricultural Show: display and talk
ACDI: Dialogue on community adaptation and resilience (Stellenbosch)
Food systems article for newsletter
WWF-Business Network meeting (SAPPI Durban)- presentation
Joint Bergville learning group local marketing review session
Gcumisa_multistakeholder innovation meeting with the INR, ~60
participants (value adding, stokvels and local marketing
Food systems dialogue: online event
Uthukela water source forum: Core team meeting and Multistakeholder
field visit around community resource conservation in Stulwane (Bgvl)
-LIMA -Social Employment Fund: Training for work teams and
employed youth in nutrition, value adding, climate change adaptation
and agroecological gardening practices including soil and water
conservation in 7 areas: Zululand, SKZN, Lichtenburg, Sekororo,Musina
and Blouberg (140 participants trained).
Indicator development for
evidence-based indicators, M&E
and handbook development
2023/01/30- 02/03
March-May 2023
June 2023
2023/10/16-20, 11/13-
Limpopo: Focus Group discussions for VSLA and microfinance for the
rural poor x 3 (Turkey, Worcester, Santeng)
Garden monitoring:
-SKZN: Plainhill
-EC: 5 villages
CA monitoring
-EC:5 villages
-KZN: Bergville -30, Midlands 15, SKZN 15
-All areas: Poultry production list
-All areas: Livelihoods survey for farmgate sales and asset accumulation
-M&E resilience indicatordevelopment team meeting and process with
k Kotschy
Implementation ofsustainable
water management
2023/03/25, 06/15
2023/04/25, 06/01,02,
09/14,10/09-14, 11/06-
10, 12/05-15,
KZN: Bergville: Stulwane Conflictman and upgrading spring protection.
EC: Nkau: Water walk and meetings for spring protection and
KZN: Bgvl Stulwane_ Engineer visits (Alain Marechal) for scenario
development and follow up planning meetings with community. Set up
committee, work parties and start on quotes and budget outline
KZN: Bgvl Vimbukhalo: Governance of communal borehole water supply
KZN: Bgvl Stulwane_ Engineer visits (Alain Marechal) for scenario
development and follow up planning meetings with community. Set up
committee, work parties and start on quotes and budget outline. Work
on scheme initiated.Final implementation of scheme.
Organisational& capacity
2023/02/09, 02/16
-MDF AGM and organisational capacity development workshop
-Mentoringand planning with new finance officer to implement SODI
financial reporting system
- Internal short learning event for rainfall and runoff results, as well as
soil fertility and Organic carbon
- Mentoring in CCA workshop implementation. Temakholo from
Midlands assisted Bergville team
-Team session on gender mainstreaming
- UKZN- Ecological mapping and use of resource planning Bgvl team
-VSLAs review and discussion re group based rules, BLF updates
- Nutrient analysis for livestock fodder options: facilitated by Brigid Letty
from the INR
-Small business development support planning and Livelihoods survey
-MDF AGM and organisational capacity development workshop
Communication and innovation
This aspect relates to platforms for sharing and learning with clusters of learning groups (LGs). No
activities were undertaken here between December 2023 and February 2024.
Multistakeholder platforms
To date the research team has participated in a range multistakeholder platforms, networks and
communities of practices (CoPs) towards developing a framework for awareness raising,
dissemination and incorporation of the CbCCA-DSS methodology into local andregional planning
processesand developing methodological coherence for a number of the themes to be explored in
this brief.
In this present period of December 2023- February 2024 only aa few activitieshave been undertaken.
The table below outlines actions and meetings to date.
Table 2: Planning and multi stakeholder interactions for the CCA-DSSII research process: February 2024
Activity - Description
Asset Research-
Maize Trust, SODI
Regenerative Agriculture farmers’ open day in Bergville
Annual Maize Trust CA forum workshop, Bethlehem MDF
23rdFeb 2023
10thOctober 2023
ESS research - WRC
UKZN research in ecosystem services mapping supported by MDF:
water walks, focus group discussions, planning, eco-champs, spring
protection work in Stulwane, thematic and mapping workshops in
Ezibomvini and Stulwane, local level planning and implementation.
Cross visit Ezibomvini to Stulwane to see resource management work
Finalisation and handover of maps, updated community resource
management plans for Ezibomvini and Stulwane
Final report preparation and ref group meeting
23rdSeptember 2022
14thOctober 2022
13,29,30 March 2023
1-30thMay 2023
29th September 2023
18th October 2023
22nd November 2023
WWF Watersource
uThukela catchment partnership: Stakeholder meetings, online and in
person at OLM board room Bergville (new name: Northern
Drakensberg Collaborative). Development of vision, membership
profile, constitution and core team and full collaborative meetings
Core team meeting for visioning and constitution development
Multistakeholder field day for community level resource conservation
in Stulwane, Bergville
29thSeptember 2022
10thNovember 2022
11thApril 2023
23rdMay 2023
23rdAugust 2023
28thSeptember 2023
SANBI- Living
Social facilitation capacity building workshop Western Cape; M
Olifants’ water indaba: M Malinga, N Mbokazi, H Hlongwane, B
Maimela and E Kruger
Video on local initiatives in catchment management
3rd-5thOctober 2022
30thOct-2ndNov 2022
24thMarch 2023
Climate change adaptation and gender mainstreaming dialogue
presentation and participation
SANBI newsletter- runoff impacts of restoration and CA
8th-9thMarch 2023
4thJune 2023
Adaptation Network
Policy input and AGM
Ongoing input and involvement in the Capacity development working
group: to implement thenew Civil Society Organisation Skills
Enhancement and Excellence Development (CSO SEED) project,
funded by the Flanders government.Some of these activities include
youth-led participatory videos on adaptation initiatives and some
thematic field visits and exchanges between AN CSO member projects.
13thOctober 2022
1stDecember 2022
7th, 8thFeb 2023
15thMarch 2023
By Nqe Dlamini and Erna Kruger
Water is a basic human right and a vital resource for health, livelihoods and development. However,
millions of people in South Africa still lack access to safe and reliable water sources, especially in
rural and peri-urban areas. According to the World Health Organization, only 56% of the rural
population and 79% of the urban population had access to at least basic water services in 2017
(WHO, 2017).
According to the United Nations “The water supply and sanitation facility for each person must be
continuous and sufficient for personal and domestic uses. These uses ordinarily include drinking,
personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation and personal and household hygiene.
Meetings with AN to discuss capacity building and outlineCCA training
for Socio technical Interface NGO in Hammanskraal
AN newsletter: Food systems article by Tema Mathebula
11thMay 2023
15thJune 2023
20thSeptember 2023
16thNovember 2023
Quarterly meeting: Discuss mapping of PGS organisations, finalisation
of certificate and use ofsealsand logos.Finalisation of smallholder
farm assessment form
PGS-Certification working group
Online market development training: Input into session 5
17thNov 2022
13thFeb 2023
9thMay 2023
Okhahlamba LM
Agriculture and Land summit: MDF presentation and marketing stall:
All Bergville staff, farmers representatives and eco champs
Okahlamba LED forum meetings
OLM support with transport for farmers’ markets and tractors for
field preparation
Okhahlamba Agricultural show
30thNovember 2022
30thMarch 2023,7th
June 2023
29thAugust 2023
research Centre
Maloti-Drakensberg Climate Change Workshop
Wageningen/UFS: Land futures course - Bgvl
12-14 December 2022
7-10thMarch 2023
Water Research
Commission/ AWARD
Giyani Local Scale Climate Resilience Project:
Support for CCA and VSLAs
Water governance andinfrastructure management community
dialoguein Mayephu, Giyani for development of guidelines and
proof of concept
WRC-Inauguralref grp meeting for: Enterprise development and
innovation for rural water schemes- GLSCRP
8-10thMay 2023
10th-14thJuly 2023
30th-31stOctober 2023
3rdand 29thNovember
Partnershipand ERS
Nicky McCleod, Sissie
Webinar toreview CRA and spring protection implementation and
plan for future projects
Planning for combined spring protection in Nkau and next deliverable
8thNov 2022
15thJune 2023
AWARD Derick du
Meeting in Hoedspruit to discuss AWARD’s contribution
Youth induction programmeTala Table network
Planning for CRA learning group expansion, Mametja-Sekororo PGS
Group marketing review and farm level assessments
2ndNovember 2022
30thJanuary 2023
22ndMarch 2023
8thMay 2023,
29thSeptember 2023
Karen Kotshcy
Learning in M&E interest group meeting. Discussions re methodology
for UCP and Tsitsa project multi stakeholder engagement evaluation
Discussions and MoU development for M&E framework and indicator
developmentand submission of report for WRC deliverable 4.
Development of Climate resilient indicators for CbCCA
11thNovember 2022
15thMay 2023
24thMay 2023
16-20thOctober, 13th-
8thFebruary 2024
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), between 50 and 100 litres of water per person
per day are needed to ensure that most basic needs are met, and few health concerns arise.”(United
Nations, 2010)
Access to potable water for all South African citizens are enshrined both in our constitution and in
South Africa is also a signatory to the UN-Sustainable development goals. Here SDG 6 is the most
immediately relevant, given the recognition that no life is possible without water and that it is
woven into the fabric of many if not all the SDGs.
SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and
sanitation for all. (https://southafrica.un.org/en/sdgs/6)
6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking waterfor
6.2 By 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end
open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in
vulnerable situations.
6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and
minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of
untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.
6.4 By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure
sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially
reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.
6.5 By 2030, implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including
through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.
6.6 By 2030, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests,
wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes.
These actions are most likely to succeed if we:
6.A Expand international cooperation and capacity-building support to developing countries
in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting,
desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies and
6.B Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and
sanitation management.
South Africa is a water scarce country (Muller, 2009)and water challenges are exacerbated by
climate change, urbanization, and rural densification. The need for alternative, climate-sensitive
water management models is crucial due to the country's water scarcity.
Water availability is becoming less predictable in many places. In some regions, droughts are
exacerbating water scarcity and thereby negatively impacting people’s health and productivity and
threatening sustainable development and biodiversity worldwide. Ensuring that everyone has access
to sustainable water and sanitation services is a critical climate change mitigation strategy for the
years ahead.
These are proposed guidelines for community-managed rural water supply systems. The main goal
of a community-managed rural water supply system is to provide a community with adequate, safe,
reliable, consistent, equitable and sustainable water in accordance to prevailing national legislation
thus multiple sources of water for multiple use systems.
The purpose of these guidelines is to present a community-based approach which builds alliances
between communities and development agencies and promotes joint actions and social
accountability as a key strategy for providing water services to rural communities. A water service
may include protected springs and wetlands, streams and rivers, borehole hand-pumps or fully-
mechanised piped water systems. Municipalities are obligated by the Water Services Act number
108 of 1997 to provide communities with reliable water services. The right to safe, reliable,
affordable and sustainable access is also enshrined in the constitution of South Africa. However,
municipalities are yet to integrate decentralised and community-based management as one of the
strategies for delivering water services to rural communities.
“Wherever practical, water services and infrastructure must provide water for multiple use and
accommodate mixed levels of service within communities, allowing consumers to elect a level of
service which suits their needs, is affordable to them (within theprevailing subsidy framework),
addresses inequalities, utilises appropriate and upgradable technologies, and is governed effectively
and responsibly to ensure sustainability.”
Despite this statement in the latest DWS review of water service provision, the legal and regulatory
framework for such implementation has yet to be developed. District and Local Municipalities are
the mandated water service authorities (WSAs) and Water Service providers (WSPs), with Water
Services Committees only possible if the community petition’s the Minister to reinstate the
The water service challenges in rural South Africa since 1994 stem in part from a lack of
collaboration between municipalities and community-based organizations. Municipalities resist
community-based management, hindering decentralized water systems (Buthelezi, 2006).This
reluctance contributes to poor quality, inadequate, unaffordable, and inequitable water access in
rural areas. The first major problem is the reluctance of municipalities to view community
organizations as partners in delivering water services, leading to a reproduction of poverty penalties,
particularly affecting young girls and women who spend excessive time fetching water (Geere &
Cortobius, 2017).
The second issue arises when stand-alone rural water schemes break down for extended periods,
denying communities their constitutional right to safe and reliable water. Despite causes like theft
and vandalism, municipalities are obligated to provide water services. In breakdown situations,
communities resort to alternative sources like springs and rivers, which may lack safety and
Historical apartheid geospatial planning in South Africa has left many rural areas without basic
services, and current responses like voluntary migration impact water service planning, financing,
and maintenance. Some schemes may be under-designed for rural densification or overly designed
for communities facing migration. Geospatial disparities in water infrastructure run counter to pro-
poor and broad-based economic goals, exposing rural communities to health risks and loss of
productive time.
The implementation of community owned and or co-managed water access schemes and services
still needs to be piloted and tested in different contexts to provide a realistic framework and
process, thus prototypes, for institutionalization and formal recognition of these processes.
Collaborative and co-management options for management of water access presently include a
range of options, that are supported informally at institutional level depending on the will and
orientation of local officials. These include for example:
Liaison with Ward councillors regarding implementation and management of state provided
Employment of local operators through the WSA who are managed at local level by village level
water committees, often linked to the ward councillors and/or the traditional council and a
voluntary water committee.
Ad hoc maintenance of infrastructure at community level through these voluntary water
committees which include community contributions and local level maintenance.
Organisation of the local communities into management areas or sections to effect more
participatory maintenance and management and
Various levels of self-supply options,which include individuals and groups.
There are many positives to communities getting involved in water management, but this
‘involvement’ brings with it a number of challenges. These challenges are not only of the
community’s making but are often entrenched in socio-political and governance systems (Nortje,
Mbhele, Polasi, & Zulu, 2022). Presently Municipal WSAs are primarily concerned with communities
taking more responsibility for operation, maintenance and efficient use of infrastructure provided,
with a secondary concern of cost recovery mechanisms for longer term sustainability. Communities
presently have a greater concern in having access to sufficient water for domestic and productive
use and as such have shown a greater and remarkable willingness to be more involved in co-
management of water supply options. Self-supply options, both on an individual and group level are
already very common in many underserviced rural communities, South Africa and Limpopo
(Hofstetter, van Koppen, & Bolding, 2021), including Giyani.
The policy framework for water service provision in South Africa consists broadly of the Water
Services Act 108 of 1997 (WSA), the National Water Act 36 of 1998 (NWA) and the National
Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA) which make provision forthe regulation and
provision of water services by different state institutions in South Africa. The relevant pieces of
legislation are summarised briefly below:
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), which recognizes the right to sufficient
water and the duty of the state to ensure that everyone has access to water services.
The National Water Act (1998), which establishes the principles of integrated water resource
management, participatory governance, equity and sustainability, and provides for the
establishment of catchment management agencies, water user associations and other
institutions to facilitate COWA.
The Water Services Act (1997), which defines the roles and responsibilities of water services
authorities, water services providers, water services intermediaries and consumers, and sets the
standards and norms for water services delivery.
The Strategic Framework for Water Services (2003), which outlines the vision, goals, objectives
and strategies for improving water services in South Africa, and promotes COWA as a viable
option for rural and peri-urban areas.
The National Development Plan (2012), which identifies COWA as a key intervention to achieve
universal access to water and sanitation by 2030, and calls for strengthening the capacity and
accountability of COWA institutions.
The National Water Resource Strategy (2013), which provides the strategic direction for the
management of water resources in South Africa, and supports community owned water access
as a means to enhance water security and resilience and
The National Environmental Management Act which provides principles intended to inform the
management of natural resources including principles of environmental justice, equitable access
and sustainable development. The key feature of the National Environmental Management Act
is the obligation to obtain an environmental authorisation before proceeding with development
which has a potential impact on the environment.
The biggest change came about in 2000 with the transfer of responsibility for water provision from
DWS to the District and Local Municipalities. From around 2020 the weaknesses in the current
arrangements have become increasingly obvious, with a strong call for community participation, but
very little appetite shown from the Water Service Authorities (Nortje, Mbhele, Polasi, & Zulu, 2022)..
The role of community-based organisation (CBOs) in the provision of water services was
recognised when the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry was a direct provider of
water services. One of the outcomes of the implementation of the Water Services Act
was total alienation and/or destruction of institutional capacity in community-managed
water schemes. Formalisation of water services providers disqualified community-based
water committees from participation in the operations and maintenance of their water
schemes. Voluntary service was replaced by formal employment of water monitors and
maintenance support staff.
The following two paragraphs summarize the current legislative opportunities for community-based
water management schemes/systems, according to Nortje, et al (2022).
“…there are a number of opportunities for CBWMs in terms of self-supply of water. For households,
Schedule 1 Water Use as provided for by the National Water Act (No. 36 of 1998) creates a number
of opportunities for self-supply, however it is severely limited. Schedule 1 makes specific reference to
the following interms of water use that is significant for CBWMS’:
Water use is specified for a single household use only thus own use only.
Serves to support the use of water for subsistence farmers thus not for commercial
Makes provision for the water of animals that are kept for household use thus not for
commercial use such as feedlots and has to be within grazing capacity of the land.
Stipulates ‘lawful’ use of the resource thus one has to lawfully have access to the resource
in order for you to make use of the water.
The Water Services Act (No. 108 of 1997) provides a number of opportunities for communities
towards self-supply. However, in this case we find that bureaucratic processes are particularly
hindering and cumbersome, especially for communities if they seek tooperate within the bounds of
the law. Under this Act, communities have two opportunities in terms of self-supply, they can either
become a Water Services Provider (WSP) or act as a Water Services Committee. These two options
bring with them a host of obstacles, in the least currently if a community wants to operate as a WSP
they have to register as a Community-Based Organisation (CBO) while if they want to act as a Water
Services Committee, they need to petition the Minister to reinstate the mechanism”.
For self-supply options the following rules/obligations have been set out for Water service
The WSA shall advocate augmenting water use with alternative water sources, such as
groundwater (springs, wells, boreholes), rainwater harvesting and stormwater harvesting.
The relevant regulations and protocols for groundwater and spring protection shall be
Water use shall be metered or monitored for reporting and planning purposes.
Guidelines shall be provided to self-supply households regarding treatment and purification
of alternative water sources for domestic and personal use.
The WSA shall make available an advisory service to households wishing to self-supply.
The WSA shall assist with access to good quality products and services regarding self-supply.
The municipal by-laws shall be revised to allow for self-supply.
Maintenance of the infrastructure is the responsibility of the owner.
Point-of-use water treatment systems and methods shall be advocated.
Users shall be educated in effective water use and hygiene, with a focus on water quality
requirements and water conservation.(Department of Water and Sanitation, 2017)
The new policy environment has created a discrepancy between the legal recognition of the efforts
and capacities of community members and their actual role in water service delivery. Local
politicians and government officials perceive community members as consumers whose role is to
avoid vandalism and to save water, to make it easy for the municipality to implement projects or to
express their wishes in the consultations for the Integrated Development Plan10 (IDP). These same
community members however construct, improve, operate and maintain water infrastructure and
fill the gaps in public service delivery. These schemes vary in complexity, ranging from individual
wells to collectively owned, piped water schemes (Hofstetter, van Koppen, & Bolding, 2021).
The purpose of this sub-section is to present broad approaches used to provide water services to
rural communities. Management of water resources and water systems by communities goes back
hundreds of years. Communities had ways and systems to govern and operate water resources.
However, modernisation and changing circumstances always present new problems which require
new solutions.
a.KwaZulu Government Regional Councils
Prior to the 1994 South African democratic project, the KwaZulu Government used Regional Councils
to provide services to rural communities. A Regional Council was essential a local government
structure. Traditional authorities constituted the majority of Regional Councils. AmaKhosi in these
Regional Councils had the strongest voices in dictating how community projects were implemented,
operated and maintained.
The significance of this era was the interest shown by international donors and non-governmental
organisations in supporting community development initiatives including water projects. During this
time, water projects included mainly spring protection, small gravity-fed reticulations and borehole
hand-pumps. Establishment of umbrella community-based development committees and project-
specific committees was the order of the day. Non-governmental organisations would collaborate
with Regional Councils in promoting community participation in the delivery of projects. In some
ways, community-based app roaches enabled development agencies to draw from community
knowledge and expertise in resolving some development challenges. Water committees would be
established, trained and capacitated to recruit community labour, participate in project
management decision making, help communities to elect water management volunteers and
provide constant feedback to communities. Defaulters and delinquent community members were
reported to the Traditional Councils and were dealt with accordingly.
However, this era raised many concerns and criticism, from finding the most committed and skilled
volunteers in community organisations, to freeing of community organisations of elitism, patriarchy
and total disregard of the voices of the poor. Obviously, there is considerable interaction between
the community development and the nature of social stratification in any community, and elitism is
a common feature of all societies (Keshava, 1975). During this era, community organisations would
be constituted bypeople aligned to, and closest to the Traditional Councils and the homeland
government. Voices of some professionals and government officials would dominate community
projects. Although some lessons can be drawn from the Regional Councils era, it must be noted that
young adults and the youth today are far different from their parents. Their parents were somehow
conditioned to bow to the authority. In fact, their parents were largely conformist to the authority.
This means that development approaches that worked before the new democratic dispensation in
South Africa are likely to be challenged.
The issue is not to identify whether community power structures are elitist, but which
community decision-making platforms deliver the services, demonstrate interest to
strengthen participation, and platforms that are able to adapt to challenges and changes
as they unfold. Elitist power structures may be permeable and community groups can
successfully identify patterns and navigate community power structures that are related
to, and favour specific development outcomes (Drew, Francis, & Kenneth, 2001)
At the dawn of democracy, the Mvula Trust was established in 1993 to support the Department of
Water Affairs and Forestry to develop affordable and sustainable water services especially for rural
communities of South Africa (Group, 2003)(Buthelezi, 2006)
b.Non-Government Organisations
The general approach by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the water service delivery space
reflects a participatory and sustainable development perspective (Krantz, 2001). The key oitns in this
approach can be summarized as follows.
1.Participatory Approach:
Emphasizes involving the people who will be using or benefiting from the
development initiative.
Recognizes the importance of engaging the community in decision-making
2.Sustainable Development Theory:
Puts people at the centre of development.
Acknowledges that local communities understand their vulnerabilities and possess
solutions for the challenges they face.
3.Local Organizations as Development Agents:
Views local organizations as essential in building and strengthening just and
empowering participation.
Highlights the role of these organizations in the development process.
4.Sustainable Livelihoods Approach:
Provides a framework to understand the complexities of poverty and vulnerability.
Offers principles guiding actions to address poverty and vulnerability.
5.Community-Based Management:
Focuses on designing community water supply systems based on lived experiences
and community development factors.
Recognizes the dynamic interaction between the community and various
development institutions.
Involves both community-based and external development institutions.
Decentralizes decision-making to maximize community participation in planning,
implementing, and operating water schemes.
6.Tools and Guidelines:
Collaboration between international and local NGOs, as well as research institutions.
Development of tools and guidelines for planning, implementation, operation, and
maintenance of water schemes.
7.Key Features of Community-Based Management:
Iterative nature, indicating an ongoing, flexible process.
Decentralization of decision-making to the lowest level possible.
Maximizing community participation in implementing and operating water schemes.
Draws from sustainable livelihood theory, incorporating social feasibility
assessments, considerations of social equity, and specific indicators for sustainable
water schemes.
In summary, the approach integrates the principles of participation, sustainable development, and
community-based management to address water service delivery. The focus on collaboration, local
empowerment, and sustainable practices is crucial for creatingeffective and lasting solutions in the
water sector.
Community life, lived experiences, shared benefits, social bonds, common values and
shared interest are common concepts that define collective action in many vulnerable
communities, African societies and their institutions. African ways of life do not isolate
constructions of life, everything is connected. Effective and meaningful participation
means that people must define their needs and take decisions that help them solve their
development challenges. Effective participation should acknowledge that malfunctioning
of one or two constructions of life exposes households and communities to vulnerability
hence access to water cannot be seen isolation of many other community realities.
c.Collaborative government-led approach
The "Build, Operate, Train and Transfer" (BOTT) approach was introduced in South Africa in 1997 by
the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry as a public-private partnership (PPP) aimed at
expediting the construction and operation of water and sanitationprojects, particularly in former
homeland areas. BOTT contracts involved collaboration between the state, private sector
institutions (programme implementing agents or PIAs), and regional councils, later transformed into
district municipalities. While intended to improve efficiency, ensure equitable water provision,
empower personnel, and recover costs, BOTT contracts faced criticism for being private sector-
driven, expensive, and overly centralized, weakening local government and non-profit organizations
in the water sector.
The BOTT program's significance lay in its principles of community participation, skills development,
empowerment, and job creation. It aimed to establish community-based water institutions, train
and mentor them during project construction, and transfer water supply projects to these
institutions for operation, maintenance, and tariff collection. However, the implementation of the
Water Service Act of 1997 in 2001 shifted ownership and control to municipalities, leading to
community-based water institutions being marginalized and ill-prepared for the transfer. Criticisms
from civil society organizations and research institutions highlighted the challenges of over-
centralization and the private sector-driven nature of BOTT contracts. Additionally, community-
based management, represented by non-governmental organizations like the Mvula Trust, faced
rejection and criticism from water service authorities, creating historical resentment in the water
sector (Buthelezi, 2006).
Community owned water access (COWA) is a form of decentralized water management that involves
the participation and empowerment of local communities in the planning, implementation,
operation, and maintenance of their own water systems, which can offer several benefits, such as:
Enhancing the sustainability and resilience of water systems by reducing dependency on
external actors and resources.
Improving the affordability and accessibility of water services by tailoring them to the specific
needs and preferences of the communities
Promoting the social and environmental justice of water allocation by ensuring that the rights
and interests of marginalized groups are respected and protected and
Fostering the social cohesion and empowerment of communities by strengthening their
collective identity, agency, and ownership of their water resources
However, COWA also faces several challenges, such as:
Lack of adequate technical, financial, institutional, and human capacity to design, construct,
operate, and maintain water systems.
Lack of clear legal and regulatory frameworks to support and protect the rights and
responsibilities of COWA actors.
Lack of effective coordination and collaboration among different stakeholders, such as
government agencies, NGOs, private sector, and other communities and
Lack of sufficient monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure the quality, efficiency, and
accountability of water services.
There are several community-based management models that can be considered for stand-alone
rural water supply schemes. Lessons are drawn from historical publications and informal
conversations regarding rural water schemes. In addition, recent developmentsand attempts at
developing both self-supply and collaborative management options are considered. Small case
studies are provided as examples.
This section considers two options of water services. The first option involves a community
operating a small water supply system (self-supply) without the involvement and support of a water
services authority, that is, a municipality. The second option involves a municipality taking the role of
construction, operation and maintenance of a water scheme in collaboration with a community-
based institution. Our working definitions are summarised below.
Despite the rapid extension of public service delivery since the end of Apartheid, many rural citizens
in South Africa still rely on their own initiatives and infrastructure to access water. They construct,
improve, operate and maintain infrastructure of different complexities, from individual wells to
complex collectively owned water schemes. While most of these schemes operate without legal
recognition, they provide essential services to many households (Hofstetter, van Koppen, & Bolding,
2021). Lessons learned from studying such schemes as locally adapted prototypes have the potential
to improve public approaches to service delivery.
These self- supply options show the willingness of community members to engage with service
delivery and their ability to provide services in cases where the state has failed and where bulk
supply options for water provision are constrained. They also provide pointers and learning for
collaborate and community co-management of state supplied infrastructure, something that is
crucial for efficiency, equity and long-term sustainability.
Self-supply is 100% user-funded, governed and operated. A community-based and informal
organisation is usually established to deal with governance and operational matters. Water
infrastructure is provided on incremental basis. Users decide on the most appropriate technology,
financing arrangements, cost-recovery strategy and type of services they want. Spring water
protection and small piped water schemes that use gravity to feed small reservoirs are preferred
Historically, a blended self-supply approachwas mainly promoted by non-governmental
organisations and international donors in the community water space which allowed for funding
support for the water schemes. For instance, a rural community would seek support from an outside
development agency, andusually a non-governmental organisation. A non-governmental
organisation would engage community stakeholders, conduct an assessment, confirm water as a
priority need, and prepare a funding application for submission to national and/or international
donors. A community-based water institution would be established when funds have been secured
in preparation for implementation. A community-based water institution would be trained and
capacitated to take some projectmanagement roles as well as operations and maintenance roles
post project completion. The water infrastructure would be managed by a community-based water
institution. However, this approach was more appropriate for small rural communities. This
approach is yet to be tried by municipalities.
b.Co-managed water supply options
Collaborative/co-management water management between communities and mandated
Government stakeholders presently has no legal, structural or process under pinning, but does
happen on an ad hoc basis depending on the personal interest, involvement and commitment of
both government officials and community members and their institutions. There is a growing
movement towards developing guidelines, procedures and case examples toward institutionalising
these approaches.
a.Approaches and methodologies
These guidelines promote an alternative institutional mechanism that is built on multi-stakeholder
dialogue, action and accountability at a village level. In this document, we have coined a concept of
village water dialogues(VWD)to describe an alternative and decentralised mechanism for delivering
water services to rural communities. It is an attempt to promote a management mechanism that
would see rural communities collaborating with public organisations.
Village water dialoguesis a non-confrontational advocacy approach that empowers communities to
engage directly with the representatives of public organisations to improve the quality of water and
related services. Village water dialoguesis action and solution oriented where all parties agree on
ways for improving water services and social accountability indicators. It is based on the notion of
active citizenship where citizens and public organisations hold one another accountable in matters
of public service. There are three main phases of village water dialogues.
The first phase is concerned with community education on citizens’ rights and corresponding
responsibilities, water sector stakeholders and public service communication platforms. This
phase is also concerned with strengthening institutional capacity of communities to engage with
public organisations. The main outcome of this phase is an empowered water community
representative institution that is capable of engaging in a constructive dialogue with public
organisations on matters that are related to water services.
The second phase is the heart of village water dialogues. A community representative structure
engages with public organisations and finds a sustainable solution to resolve water problems in a
community. There are two main outcomes of this phase.The first outcome is a well-packaged
water project and action plan. The second outcome is a social accountability plan which
defines and assigns roles and responsibilities of community members in making a water
project successful and sustainable. Cost recovery is a key component of a community
accountability plan.
The final phase is concerned with implementation of a water project. During this phase,
community members monitor all the processes that are involved in the implementation,
operations and maintenance of a water project. The main outcome of this phase is a
sustainability plan. The main focus of a sustainability plan is conservation and protection of
water sources and includes the requirements that water supply systems should cause little or
no harm to the ecosystem and should ensure that the needs of futuregenerations are not
compromised. Therefore, a water system is deemed sustainable when it does not over exploit
the water resource and the system is protected to avoid water contamination. In addition, a
community-managed water system is sustainable when it is able to recover operational costs
and is properly operated and maintained to supply adequate uncontaminated water to the
Activities proposed in these phases are essentially calling for the re-integration of community-based
management models into rural water services provision. This call to re-integrate community-based
management is influenced by the fact that communities with no or limited access to safe and
reliable water services are in most cases voiceless and unheard, and consequently revert to
alternative water sources which, in many cases would be polluted. This makes municipalities
transgressors of their constitutionalobligation to supply safe and reliable water to their citizens.
These guidelines aim to promote decentralised water management and fit-for-purpose rural water
systems. A village water dialoguesapproach is employed to facilitate the re-integration of
community-based management in the rural water supply programmes.
b.Governance considerations.
Community level involvement
All members of a community are expected to make use of provided infrastructure and water access
in a responsible manner. For this to be possible all community members need to:
be considered in terms of their needs,
be informed about the technical aspects of operation for the system,
understand the implications and limits of access and availability of water,
know and agree to the management and operational confines of the system and
be willing to follow the rules set in place for quality, management and use of water.
The above can only happen if every single member in the community takes some individual
responsibility and considers the impact of their actions on their neighbours and community. In larger
and more urban communities, individual behaviour is controlled primarily through payment for
specific services and access, with associated regulations. In rural and informal communities, this
system of control does not exist. This can lead to high levels of inequity, competition, abuse, and
mismanagement of water supply systems.
The temptation is to attempt to enforce payment and regulation of services. The solution however,
lies more in the full participation of all community members in every phase of the process.
Guidelines for community level engagement
Community members need to be engaged in initial baseline, vulnerability and feasibility
assessments for proposed water supply schemes.
Community members need to understand water access options, water sources and availability and
water use implications for their village.
Community members need to be provided with information to be able to assess the proposed
scenarios for development of water access options.
Community members need to be provided space for learning and analysis of concepts related to
water management in their areas, including for example climate change impacts, rainfall and water
infiltration, groundwater and groundwater management, water quality for drinking and
multipurpose use, technical aspects of proposed systems, solar energy, water purification options,
water use and conservation etc., so that they are better able to make informed decisions.
Community members need to develop an understanding of water provision as a service with the
potential for different levels and sources of access for different purposes and different levels of
access to this service dependant on financial and other contributions.
In complex programmes scenarios are developed. These are refined in the planning and
implementation and yet further changes can occur during the contractual and commissioning
phases. Expectations are raised in each phase and community members often remember well what
was “promised’ at the beginning. This process requires careful explanation on an ongoing basis.
NOTE: the tendency is to not provide detail or make specific ‘promises’ to avoid the resultant
conflict, but the better practise is to explain the changes and difficulties as the process unfolds,
which despite being a lot more intensive has the advantage of also increasing community level
understanding of the issues and problems involved and this level of transparency builds trust and
rapport between the role players, as well as a level of accountability in expenditure.
Community members need to engage with and negotiate all parameters of the scheme to be able to
take responsibility for further operation, management and maintenance.
Community members need to be involved in decision making on a day-to-day level and in
selection/election of local water governance structures/committees.
They need to be a part of the process of decision making around beneficiation and equity.
It is possible to make some assumptions on how individuals in rural communities will behave, based
on experiences in engaging these communities in designing, planning and implementing local water
access options, rather than being the passive recipients of externally designed and implemented
water supply systems. These experiences have shown that:
Community members are willing and able to participate.
Community members are willing to volunteer their time, labour, and money towards
ensuring a functional water system.
Community members are committed to ensuring that their water supply system is
operational and looked after.
Community members are willing and able to make rational and considered decisions
around water use and management if provided with appropriate information on which
to base such decisions.
The actual level of involvement in the operation and maintenance of the system is a
choice for community members. Some members participate by voluntarily following the
rules and others are more involved in the management of the system.
Levels of water access need to be equitable and transparent.
Guidelinesfor local governance structures
At community level arrangements are more often than not already in place, although they would be
considered informal. Often these arrangements will not fulfil the requirements of the Water Service
Authorities but provide for a level of stability and equitywithin the community.
Water committees are voluntary structures and as such have two major weaknesses:
Members do have a certain level authority within the community but are not able to
effectively police any rules. They cannot control or officially/legally enforce any of the rules
agreed to be the community. As such informal arrangements are developed. Often it relies
on community members contributing in time and in small regular payments to an agreed
activity, such as water infrastructure maintenance or borehole pumping costs for example.
The committee keeps records of those community members who pay and those who do not.
Generally, those community members who resist the rulings or do not pay are considered
not to be part of the process and their opinions or complaints or difficulties are then not
taken into account and
Members of committees can take advantage of their authority to improve their own
beneficiation, often justified as a form of compensation for their efforts. This process, if
managed in a transparent way, could actually assist in providing for longer term
sustainability of committees, as it provides some benefit to the committee members who
often have to deal with many problems, conflicts and complaints on an ongoing basis.
At village level this is a manageable beneficiation system and can allow for a stable and ongoing
operational system, without too much conflict. There is however a chance that vulnerable
households and individuals are excluded from a service which should benefit all community
members. Households with very high levels of poverty are more often than not also households
where members engage in socially high risk and unacceptable behaviours, which ostracises them
from the rest of the community. Other prejudicesmay also surface, especially around unmarried
women with children and ‘foreigners. It is proposed that this process be externally facilitated, as it is
unlikely that communities themselves will design systems that are fully equitable.
Traditional councils can fulfil a valuable function of oversight, providing coherence and conflict
management support at community level. This has not traditionally been one of their functions, but
can fit well into the suite of functions, services and support they provide to their communities. Such
ideas however will however need to be negotiated and institutionalised
Local water committees
Care needs to be taken to ensure that these committees are well represented and should include
representation from:
ØThe traditional ward councils
ØThe Local ward councils (Local Municipality)
ØLocal representatives of the Water Service Authority and providers
ØMembers form local development structures and interest groups, including for example the
livestock association, development committees, farmers associations and groups,
cooperatives, churches, schools and creches and
ØLocal household members; both with access to individual water supply options (like
boreholes and springs) and without.
These committees need well developed constitutions with roles and responsibilities outlined
therein. These committees also need to have arrangements in place for operations and maintenance
of the water service in their village as well as security of infrastructure.
Security concerns for infrastructureare a reality and something that water committees invariably
will need to deal with. Local security arrangements are important and are already being more
commonplace, both for infrastructure and for livestock. In some villages in Giyani, including
Mayephu, 24hr patrols have already been put in place to monitor and control theft. It is foreseeable
that these patrols can also undertake monitoring of the water infrastructure, within the same broad
system. In other villages,households closest to the infrastructure are tasked with ‘keeping an eye’
and are assisted by the water committees, or guards are appointed and provided with a stipend
collected from community contributions.
O&M is sometimes thought to be a simple technical matter that is easy to solve. Yet as the
persistent breakdowns in water supply systems in many villages illustrate, adequate O&M relies on a
surprisingly complex set of organisational functions and competencies. Suitable human resources,
access to the right tools, an inventory of spare parts, reliable transport, mechanisms for reporting
breakdowns, accountability frameworks, and assured, regular funding are all vital (SADC-GMI, 2020).
O&M includes regular tasks such as replacement of worn parts, refuelling, servicing, cleaning and
monitoring, as well as dealing with irregular breakages, outages and malfunctions. Long-term,
successful O&M needs suitably skilled and motivated personnel and depends in turn on a set of
institutional and organisational systems that are viable financially and politically (SADC-GMI, 2020).
There are many factors that determine the quality of O&M. The main ones are quality of staff, access
to dedicated O&M funds, and the quality of records and analysis of information
Technical and operational procedures for ongoing management of the water supply systems are
being and should be designed and outlined by the institutional role players in water service
provision. The question here is how communities engage in this activity.
It is assumed by both local beneficiaries and waster service providers that communities can
undertake day to day tasks in operation and maintenance. Community members are the first to
state that they can and already do, undertake simple and low-cost maintenance activities to their
water schemes by themselves. These include actions such as replacing leaking taps, fixing leakages in
pipes and replacing or adding valves. Communities also willingly manage water distribution aspects,
such as switching pumps on and off and opening and closing valves to supply different sections of
their villages with water.
They falter however, where faults are more technical in nature, such as when pumps do not function
well, or break, or when there are faults in the electrical or fuel supply systems. Replacement of
filters and other spare parts are also problematic mostly due to lack of access to these. Good
working relationships with the technical and institutional partners are critical for these aspects.
The basic principle as outlined already, is that everyone needs to be engaged even if only at the level
of closing running taps or reporting leakages or issues to the water committees and scheme
operators, as well as in following prescribed procedures for access. These activities all fall within
corrective maintenance actions and are demand driven, rather than being preventative. For the
latter, a high level of pro-active planning and collaboration between stakeholders is required.
A note on cost recovery options
Sustainable infrastructure projects must generate a sound revenue stream based on adequate cost
recovery and be supported, where necessary, by well - targeted subsidies (to address affordability).
Users’ willingness to pay for O&M and development of suitable tariffs are central to the ongoing
sustainability of a water supply system.
Tariffs usually contain two charges; a charge that depends on the volume of water used and one that
is no e.g. connection fees, ad hoc maintenance fees and the like.
From discussions with local water committees in Giyani, members are confident that monthly fees
from users is an option. The value of such fees should in their opinion not be higher than R20/ user/
month, given that most households in these villages are extremely poor and unemployment levels
are very high. This is clearly not a full cost recovery option but can assist greatly in overall
Regular monthly payments by all households in a village is however logistically problematic,
especially for larger villages. Generally ongoing financial contributions for groups larger than 20-30
members becomes unwieldy, with high levels of effort spent on policing and the resultant conflicts
often lead to failure of the process. Below are some suggestions of how this can be managed:
ØMonthly contributions by households are recorded by the water committee and those who
do not pay are regarded as non-participants and not supported when they have difficulties
in access. This is an existing system in some of the villages and is accepted and manageable
but has the distinct drawback of excluding vulnerable households.
ØDivide the village into sections with smaller numbers of households and manage monthly
contributions and access per section. In this approach, each section can be provided with a
target value of monthly, weekly or daily financial contributions to allow foraccess. The
decentralization of this system is a strength, but defaulting can still cause major difficulties.
Cross subsidization for the poorer households is however an option.
ØUse of local savings mechanisms to allow for regular payments. The large majority of rural
households belong to a range of informal savings groups, such as stokvels and funeral
groups. Local savings and loan associations are an extension of this practice, which allows for
improved cashflow and accumulation of funds for specific uses. The strength of these groups
is that they are voluntary and generally well established in rural communities. The drawback
is still that vulnerable households are excluded and that these groups require some level of
external facilitation and policing to remain well managed in the longer term.
Thus, the main question becomes one of how equitability and the right to water can be ensured for
vulnerable households. The logical option is that those households with the ability and resources to
secure larger volumes of water for themselves cross-subsidize those who cannot. This approach
would entail tariffs set at village level related to the volume of water accessed.
Recommendations for water service providers and authorities
A number of participatory instruments and guidelines have been championed and developed the
Department of Water and Sanitation (previously DWAF), Water Research Commission, local water
non-governmental organisations and international water development agencies. The purpose of this
section is not re-invent the wheel, but to point out the most important components of community-
based management approach to water services.
Focus on creating an enabling environment for communities to engage with municipalities on
non-confrontational terms
Aligning municipal and water services policies with community-based management approaches
Simplifying the role and responsibilities of community-based water institutions
Provision of incentives and designing financing mechanisms by municipalities to promote
community-based management
Development of community educational materials on water and sanitation, resource
management, water protection and conservation, demand management, water quality
management, etc.
Non-punitive policies that would support community-managed water service provision
The full engagement and participation of local communities is also impacted by how the water
service stakeholders and institutions interact with them. Below are some broad recommendations
for management of these relationships:
1Local level governance systems need to be respected but also interrogated in terms of
acceptable levels of provision for equity in access to water within the community.
2Engagement of the governance committees and community as a whole in being more equitable
in terms of their access arrangements is important.
3Community engagement needs to be broader than just the committees and operators at all
stages of the discussion: Feasibility, design, implementation, operation and maintenance.
4Committees should be well represented traditional authorities, local government councillors,
active water users in the areas, such as crop and livestock farmers and individuals who can
represent more vulnerable groups in the village.
5Institutional engagement in punitive measures for those who have informal or illegal
connections is unlikely to have a positive outcome.
6Hoarding of water and water provision options, by those households which can afford it and
have power within the community should be dissuaded. Here, a user pays arrangement can
potentially be negotiated. At the very least, they should not have more accessto communal
water than everyone else in the community.
7Payment for water use in excess of an agreed amount, can be used towards setting up a
community level fund for maintenance and operations.
8Ongoing monitoring of water levels, specifically for borehole schemes, with a coherent system
of reporting is important. In this respect provision of dip meters will be required. Scheme
operators need to have someone to report to who can make decisions regarding use, over-use
and remedial actions that can be taken.
In the light of theWater Services Act which obligates municipalities to provide safe, quality, reliable
and affordable water (and sanitation services), there could be no parallel water services provision
mechanisms outside the ambit of municipalities.
The approach taken in these guidelines is thematic: community participation and community-based
management. Community participation is different from community management, and in fact,
community participation is a forerunner for community-based management.In putting together
these guidelines for provision of reliable water services to rural communities, we need to build on
what is already there and already happening. In the morning of the 26thof January 2024, uKhozi FM
allowed listeners around the province of KwaZulu-Natal to share their experience regarding access
to water services. Callers complained about non-functional piped water schemes and dry borehole
hand pumps. Some said they are competing with livestock for dirty water in rivers, streams and
springs. Such experience demonstrates a tension between the expectations of communities and
municipalities. Communities expect municipalities to make water schemes work and to provide
water services to unserved communities. Municipalities expect communities to be patient while they
fix water provision problems.
Failure of local government platforms of engagement have transformed communication between
municipalities and communities into a battlefield of broken service delivery promises. However,
tensions between communities and municipalities can be managed better. The focus should be
building sustainable alliances between communities and public organisations (municipalities and
non-governmental organisations) charged with water service obligations to work together in finding
lasting solutions.
In an ideal world, communities would initiate water development dialogues (engagements) and only
call for outside support only when they require specialised expertise and capital investments.
However, the reality is that platforms of engagements do not provide alternatives outside the local
government system. It would appear that communities have given up on municipalities. This
experience presents a new opportunity. Non-state organisation such as non-governmental
organisations are better positioned to facilitate village water dialogues between municipalities and
water-distressed communities. There are many lessons that can be drawn pre-1994 and just before
rural water schemes were transferred to municipalities.
Analysis of effectiveness
Mogane-Ramahotshwa (Mogane Ramhotshwa, 1995)conducted action research between 1989 and
1993 in three community-managed rural schemes, namely, Relela in Bolobede in the former Lebowa,
KwaHlophe and KwaNyuswa in Ndwedwe in the former KwaZulu. Other examples are Nhlungwane
rural water scheme in uMsinga in KwaZulu-Natal (Mvula Trust, 2002; The Water Wheel, 2004), and
Mnywaneni rural water scheme in Donnybrook in KwaZulu-Natal (Mvula Trust, 2002). The success of
these community-managed rural water schemes provides a base for re-integrating community-based
management approaches into rural water services.
The argument presented emphasizes the challenges associated with community-based water supply
projects, as highlighted by Mogane-Ramahotshwa (1995). The conclusion is drawn that participation
and negotiations in such projects can be time-consuming and frustrating for water-starved
communities. However, successful outcomes have been observed in self-initiated projects where
communities, with strong support from development agencies, mobilize financial contributions, take
ownership of construction, operations, and maintenance.
The Mvula Trust and Built Environment Support Group (BESG) are cited as examples of successful
mobilization of community contributions, particularly in the context of water and household
sanitation projects. The core idea revolves around community-managed water supply services,
wherein communities have control over the management of water resources. This includes
governance, operations, maintenance, and the establishment of water funds for future upgrades.
The self-supply mechanism is introduced, encompassing fully user-funded water schemes or blended
approaches involving collaboration between state organs and community institutions. The emphasis
is on the long-standing practice of community-managed water supply predating integrated water
resource management. Such an approach involves active participation of water users in decision-
making, policy formulation, cost-recovery, maintenance, and creating funds for future
External development agencies play a crucial role in this model, partnering with community
institutions to provide support in institutional strengthening, capacity building, financial resource
mobilization, rule enforcement, and water education programs. The argument underscores the
importance of collaboration among stakeholders, recognizing communities as essential players in
the sustainable management of water services.
The key insight is that a sustainable rural water system is achieved when communities, through their
representative structures, mobilize household contributions and maintain a sufficient water fund for
operational needs, maintenance, and future infrastructure investments. The lesson learned is that
external development agencies should avoid taking total control of projects, as it risks weakening
community participation and ownership. Instead, these agencies should promote shared decision-
making with community institutions to foster successful and sustainable water supply initiatives.
Case study: Co-managementof water supply services started pre-2000
The Mnywaneni Community Water Supply was implemented 22 years ago under the auspices of the
Mvula Trust. This NGO was established in 1993 in response of the collapse of homeland government
administrations and was established to provide safe and adequate water.
Figure 2:Picture showing communal standpipes, set up by Mvula Trust and a private yard connection subsequently
undertaken by some of the households themselves (illegal connections)
The Mnywaneni Community Water Supply project was commissioned when the community of had
approximately 80 households. Today, there are about 150 households. This project is located north-
east of Donnybrook town in KwaZulu-Natal. The Water Services Authority is Harry Gwala District
Municipality which is headquartered in Ixopo. Since 2001, the project has been functioning without
interruption. It sources water from a spring located above the village. Water is gravity-fed to a 10KL
ferrocement reservoir which feeds communal standpipes. Before the scheme was transferred to
Harry Gwala District Municipality, Mnywaneni Water Committee took full responsibility of the
operations and maintenance of the scheme.
At the time, the Mvula Trust used a participatory development approach.The main features of this
model include the following:
Mvula trust conducted a needs assessment process in the community and established a
temporary and voluntary community level committee to facilitate communication during the
proposal and project development phase.
When the feasibility study was approved, Mvula Trust would request the community to commit
to make financial contributions towards the construction costs of the project. This community
contribution would be reflected in the funding proposal.
On approval of project funding, Mvula Trust would facilitate stakeholder engagement as well as
training and capacity building sessions to prepare the local water organisation to participate
meaningfully in the project. The local water organisation takes some project management roles
and specifically managing project funds, establishing labour desk for local labour procurement,
and paying service providers (material suppliers, consulting engineers, contractors and social
consultants). Project funds would be disbursed in tranches to the bank account that is operated
by the water committee. Books/transactions would be audited by Mvula Trust before another
tranche is disbursed into the water committee’s account.
The project design would be discussed with the community in terms of water source,
reticulation network, number and location of standpipes. Standpipe wardens would be elected
by the community and usually wardens are women that would be closest to communal
standpipes. Standpipe wardens would offer their services for free. Each warden keeps the key
for the standpipe, and every day at a specified time the warden opens the standpipe for the
people to come and collect water.
Para-technicians (care takers) would be recruited and trained during the construction phase of
the project. They are given in-depth training on operations and maintenance, for example, exact
location of valves, operating a diesel generator and pump, managing water levels in reservoirs,
detecting water leaks, etc.
Wardens are trained to keep the register and payment records for households using a communal
standpipe. Total money (service fee) collected will be declared by each standpipe warden at a
water committee monthly meeting. The treasurer of a water committee would deposit the total
collection at the bank. A feedback community meeting will then be held to; 1) present a monthly
report, 2) seek community resolutions for adjustments that are proposed by the water
committee, and 3) announce delinquent households andseek remedial action from the
community. A flat rate is charged and is made by the households on monthly basis.
Current Status
With the emergence of local government, the role of municipalities in providing water services, the
role of local water organisations (water committees) diminished. Harry Gwala District Municipality
appointed one warden/caretaker replacing all standpipe wardens. Payment for water services was
replaced by free basic water. The ward committee that is chaired by the ward councillor took over
some roles of the water committee.
The water scheme is still operational. The chairlady of the former water committee believes that the
scheme would not be operational if it was not a gravity scheme. She mentioned that the promised
upgrades by the HG DM have not been forthcoming. She also believes that because their community
is small, it has made it possible to resolve many challenges households face
The community has three main springs located just above the households. Only two springs are used
and the other
spring simply
flows through the
wetland to the
main road.
Figure 3: Water
ponding and forming a
wetland on the side of
the road form one of
the community
The Harry Gwala District Municipality(HG DM)improved an additional spring that gravity feeds to a
2 200 L plastic tank (Jo-Jo tank). This tank only supplies a few nearby households and a few further
households who can afford to have linked in their own pipes for household level taps. This is a
common difference between work undertaken by Mvula Trust and work subsequently undertaken
by the DMs. There has been no consultation. Small systems are put in with little to no consideration
of distance to the scheme or amount of water provided or even if it would be enough for the
households there.
In another community, Erith Trust (KwaThathani) in the HG DM, the community water supply
scheme that was commissioned in 2004 and upgraded in 2006 has not been functioning for more
than two years. It was upgraded to supply about 850 households. It sources water from a borehole
that was drilled next to the river. Electric pumps fed a large reservoir, with break pressure tanks and
pipelines leading to communal standpipes. Some of the failures of this scheme include some
elements of vandalism (theft of ESKOM’s transformer), illegal private connections, effect of load
shedding, high water demand from a single source and obviously and under-designed scheme.
When one compares the two schemes, it may be concluded that; Mnywaneni is still operational
because it is a gravity scheme that supplies a small community of about 150 households. It has three
powerful springs. On the other hand, kwaThathani Community Water Scheme feeds about 850
households from a single production borehole. Water demand is very high and access to water has
been unregulated for years after the water committee was dismantled. The community of
KwaThathani has been getting water from alternative sources which includes few springs, a river and
water tanker from Harry Gwala District Municipality. A sub-village has protected a spring and
installed pipes that supply the few households that paid for spring improvement.
Case study 2: Co-management of water supply services: Present prototype development
The Giyani Local scale Climate Resilience Programme is a multistakeholder research and innovation
process, funded by the Government of Flanders and spearheaded by the Water Research
Commission with a focus on the Multiple Use Systems Model, the water-energy food nexus and
introduction of appropriate technology and innovations into the water use systems of both
community water supply systems and agricultural production projects in the Giyani area of the
Mopani District Municipality(MDM), to demonstrate practical water linked climate change
adaptations at local level.
Programme partners include the Water Research Commission, The University of the Western Cape,
MDM, Department of Water and Sanitation and the local Water Service Authority, the Department
of Agriculture, Local Office of the Premier, COGTA, Traditional Authorities and NGO partners
Tsogang, and AWARD among others.
Implementation and innovation options have been designed and are being implemented in 9 sites; 5
community water supply options and 4 agricultural cooperative support options. Innovations to be
introduced include solar systems for boreholes and reticulation, reverse osmosis for water
purification, and also drip irrigation and hydroponic systems for agriculture. Local scale water
treatment options are also being explored.
Mahlathini Development Foundation has joined the team to integrate the CCA framework
developed into this process and provide further thinking and options for local water governance
systems within the water-energy-food nexus aspects of the programme. It wasagreed with the
primary implementers that the focus would be in Mayephu village (communal water supply) and in
the Dzuvadzi youth organic agricultural cooperative (Loloka village), to explore both adaptation
options and local water management and governance.
At Mayephu village, the intervention consisted of two community levelworkshops one on climate
change impacts and adaptive strategies and the following a community village water dialogue. In
addition,homestead visits were undertaken to explore water access, water use and livelihood
options and an analysis was undertaken of the Mayephu water access management system.
A set of guidelines was produced, alongside a few more in-depth documents to provide an example
of a prototype of collaboration between communities and stakeholders to develop a co-
management system.
These guidelines highlight a number of the process considerations, using the Mayephu community in
Giyani as a case study and example and include:
-Descriptive definitions
-Collaborative and co-management options
-Policy alignment, norms and standards
-Multiple use systems
-Facilitation and dialogues
-Equitable access and cost recovery
Collaborative and co-management options
Collaborative and co-management options for management of water access presently include a
range of options, that are supported informally at institutional level depending on the will and
orientation of local officials. These include for example:
ØLiaison with Ward councillors regarding implementation and management of state provided
ØEmployment of local operators through the WSA who are managed at local level by village
level water committees, often linked to the ward councillors and/or the traditional council
and a voluntary water committee.
ØAd hoc maintenance of infrastructure at community level through these voluntary water
committees which include community contributions and local level maintenance.
ØOrganisation of the local communities into management areas or sections to effect more
participatory maintenance and management and
ØVarious levels of self-supply options, which include individuals and groups.
There are many positives to communities getting involved in water management, but this
‘involvement’ brings with it a number of challenges. These challenges are not only of the
community’s making but are often entrenched in socio-political and governance systems (Nortje,
Mbhele, Polasi, & Zulu, 2022). Presently Municipal WSAs are primarily concerned with communities
taking more responsibility for operation, maintenance and efficient use of infrastructure provided,
with a secondary concern of cost recovery mechanisms for longer term sustainability. Communities
presently have a greater concern in having access to sufficient water for domestic and productive
use and as such have shown a greater and remarkable willingness to be more involved in co-
management of water supply options. Self-supply options, both on an individual and group level are
already very common in many underserviced rural communities, South Africa and Limpopo
(Hofstetter, van Koppen, & Bolding, 2021), including Giyani.
Important principles that have to be considered and implemented if communities are to play a role
in their own water management are:
1.Communities have to be given a voice in making decisions regarding their own water.
2.Mobilisation of communities should happen from the very start of the endeavour and not
only in the use phase.
3.Recognising (on both community- and authority side) that communities have co- or complete
ownership of scheme and the responsibility that goes along with it.
4.Different stakeholder input and support is required through the different phases of the
intervention and through its life cycle.
5.Co- or complete ownership requires commitment on the community’s side to take up their
portion of responsibility in terms of operations and management of the scheme and its
6.Researchers and implementers of such schemes need to learn from the past, and build on the
past to create greater odds for success; and,
7.For communities to be able to operate within the boundaries of the law to ensure
accountability and transparency, a review of key governance processes, structures, policy
and legislation is needed in South Africa.
The Mayephu facilitation and engagement process
A civil society-based facilitation team (AWARD, MDF and Tsogang) undertook a range of focus group
discussions, community meetings, village walks and semi-structured interviews to gain a working
understanding of the water system, multiple use options and livelihoods in the Mayephu village.
Care was taken to include a range of respondents in these processes such as the traditional council
councillors, system operator, village water committee members, farmers, cooperative members and
community members.
Community level meetings and dialogues were focused first on Climate Change, both impact and
adaptive strategies focused on water (sources, availability, access and use) and then on governance
and equity within the present and proposed systems. Sessions also included information sharing,
short learning inputs, as well as analysis of the water system components both from the institutional
and community perspectives.
The NGOs have played an information and perception brokering role by reporting community
perspectives and processes at a range of multi stakeholder forums inclusive of the project teams,
institutional and academic role players and relaying information backto communities.
Policy alignment, norms and standards
National norms and standards for domestic water and sanitation services were reviewed and
updated by DWA in 2017 (DWS, 2017). Municipalities have been dealing with a diverse range of
water service provision systems, both urban and rural, leading to confusion and the need to update
norms and standards.
At around the same time, the National Water Policy Review (NWPR), resulted in the prioritisation of
access to basic water supply in the form of a yard tap to all households in the country, with
consideration of water supply for both domestic and productiveuse. It is the responsibility of a
Water Services Authority (WSA) to ensure that “adequate and appropriate investments are made to
ensure the progressive realisation of the right of all people in its area of jurisdiction to receive at least
a basic level of water and sanitation services”.
The norms and standards for levels of water services draw on the principles of universal access,
human dignity, user participation, service standards, redress, and value for money. The principles of
sustainability, affordability, effectiveness, efficiency,and appropriateness are also important in
supplying water to a community. The model is as outlined in the diagram below.
Figure 4: Water service level options as defined by the DWS, 2017.
There are a few significant points in this model.
Firstly, there is now recognition for self-supply a self-funded, self-managed option with oversight
from the Water Service Authority. Actual involvement from the WSA is not provided for. This
unfortunately means that implementation of community owned water access models and processes
are not guaranteed any follow-up and support from the municipalities.
Despite continued mention of participation, no systems are yet in place to outline how this should
be managed at local and district Municipal levels. It is envisaged more as a mechanism to allow for
care of and payment for provided infrastructure, rather than a process of collaborative and joint
Secondly, a category of intermittent provision has now been added to the bottom of the service
level and supply ladder suggesting an amount of 1500l/ household/week. This allocation allows
for domestic use at around 25l per capita per day and should bemetered, but is not tariffed.
All other allocations in this water ladder including basic (25l per capita per day) to basic plus (25-50l
per capita per day) water is required to be measured and or metered, meaning that there needs to
be some system that records how much water is provided to each household. Also significant here,
is the specification of water being made available at the boundary of the yard. For Mayephu this
has the implication that the yard connections are not in fact ’illegal’, but should be considered an
improvement inline with the present legislation, as long as some system of metering is included.
There is an expectation that this water will be tariffed. Water will not be tariffed for citizens who are
considered ‘indigent’ which is defined as earning less than R1 600/household/month. These
citizens need to be registered on the municipal indigency listings to be eligible for non-tariffed
Thirdly, there is an expectation of payment for services for the Basic plus water service allocation. It
is expected that WSA’s will set reasonable tariffs that will allow for cost recovery on their part.
Importantly, improving the water mix is considered crucial in terms of management of scarce water
resources and involves the increased use of a variety of water sources in addition to our current
reliance on surface water. These include groundwater, water harvesting, water-recycling and the re-
use of treated acid mine water. For villages such as Mayephu water harvesting and recycling needs
to be given a lot more attention.
Multiple use systems
Definition of a Small-Scale Multiple Use System
In the literature, productive use of water or water for beneficial use is defined as the use of water to
promote economic growth and improve livelihoods such as watering food gardens and livestock. The
relationship between multiple livelihood strategies, multiple water uses, multiple water sources and
multiple benefits is summarised in the following figure.
Figure 5:The MUS chain linking key components
Beneficial water use on the other hand does not necessarily result in economic growth however it
does add value to people’s standard of living such as the use of water for traditional/cultural and/or
ritual functions. Water for both productive and beneficial uses is considered equally important.
Multiple use is therefore
the use of water for both
productive and beneficial
use resulting in economic
growth, improved
livelihoods and improved
quality of life.
Figure 6: the key components of
Based on the above, a multiple use system could include a backyard food garden, car wash, water
for religious events (e.g. baptism) through to a small irrigation scheme. Hence, it is imperative to
distinguish between the magnitude and scale of multiple usesystems. Further, it is important to
distinguish between water consumption for commercial practice and water consumption for small
scale household practices.
Since there is no national definition for small scale economic growth therefore for the purposes of
this report small scale multiple use systems is defined as the use of water by the poor to reduce
poverty, stimulate economic growth (sale of produce and provision of services) and support a
sustainable livelihood. It is in no way implied that small scale multiple use excludes the householder
from engaging in commercial activities instead householders are strongly encouraged to use water
for economic advancement. Water consumption for large scale commercial use, such as commercial
livestock farming, water for industrial use, etc., must comply with Chapter 4 of the National Water
Act (Act 36 of 1998) and is not the main focus of the GLSCRP.
Benefits of a Small-Scale Multiple Water Use System Verses a Single Water Use System
The benefits of a small-scale multiple water use system verses a single water use system are
numerous and are well documented through various case study analysis. A single water use system
only caters for domestic use however a small-scale multiple water use system caters for the actual
water needs of the community at a subsistence level. Some of the direct benefits of a small scale
multiple water use system are presented in the diagram below:
Figure 7: Gives an indication of the scope of what can be included in water for small scale productive uses.
The MUS water ladder and the domestic+ approach
The work of Renwick, et al 2007; van Koppen et al 2009 document an approach that consider the
scale for water requirements from water for basic domestic needs through to water for commercial
needs. They call the approach Domestic Plus and depict the increasing levels of services as the MUS
water ladder (figure 19).
The provision of basic water services is only the first step up the ladder of service provision as set
out by the national government in the Reconstruction and Development Plan in 1994. Whilst this is
the most important and immediate priority, water services authorities are expected to provide
Possible Small Scale Productive Water Uses in SA
Possible Small Scale Productive Water Uses in SA
Possible Small Scale Productive Water Uses in SA
Vegetable Gardens
Fruit Trees
Wetland Crops
Brick Making
Ice Making
Traditional Beer Brewing
Hair Salons
Car Wash
(cultivated on Private or
Communal Land)
(cultivated on Private or
Communal Land)
Stock Other
intermediate and higher levels of services (for example water on-site) wherever it is practical and
provided it is financially viable and sustainable to do so.
Figure 8: The Domestic Paus and MUS water ladder. Higher levels of service provide form more income options (stepping up
the ladder) (Source: Renwick at al. 2007; van Koppen et al. 2009)
Multiple use systems in Mayephu
In Mayephu as in other villages in Giyani and rural communities in general, Municipal Infrastructure
support focuses on basic water needs and aims to provide 25l per capita per day. Community
members use water for multiple uses depending on their ability to access larger quantities of water
(Van Koppen, Moriarty, & Butterworth, 2010). This generally occurs through using, via household
storage and arrangements, larger proportions of the supplied water than the allocated 25L and
through undertaking a range of self-supply options, including individual boreholes.
The Mayephu Village, situated in Dzumeri, Giyani, falls within Ward 27 of the 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 over the 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 to a 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 standpipes (Jovanovic, A., &
Maswanganye, S. (November 2022). Mayephu Water Management System Analysis. [Internal
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
introduction of the bulk water scheme in the area.
Present Infrastructure
The GLSCRP is intervening in the main water provision system in Mayephu that presently consists of
2 linked boreholes with water pumped to the 700000l reservoir. Water is reticulated from there via
mainlines to standpipes throughout the village. To improve functioning of the system solar energy
has been set up as a back up to the present electrical pumping process and a reverse osmosis plant
is being planned to purify a much smaller proportion of the water for drinking purposes.
Figure 9: A view of the 700000l village header tank in Mayephu and one of the boreholes supplying this tank fitted with
electricity from both a power line and solar panels, for dual supply.
This however is not the only water infrastructure in the village. There are two other boreholes with
reservoirs that aren’t presently being used but could still be functional. For one of these the
reservoir is leaking and for the other the borehole is not working due to cable theft in the past.
Given the present insufficiency of water being supplied by the one functional system, the community
raised the question of refurbishing these two smaller systems; specifically in light of the fact that the
present system does not supply water equally across the whole village and that the more elevated
section of the village does not get water if the present reservoir is not full.
For farming and livestock, individual farmers or cooperatives are expected to install their own water
supply systems and mostly have drilled their own borehole. There is one small dam for livestock
watering, where Tsogang has assisted by removing silt to improve availability of water.
Water Use in Mayephu
The water supply system operates by filling the village reservoir, with a capacity of 700,000 liters,
once a week. At present, due mainly to a reduction in capacity of the two main boreholes (over-
pumping and climate change), linked to loadshedding and other inefficiencies, pumping is done
continuously for 6 days Saturday- Thursday. The community is allowed to access water once a
week on Fridays.
Water allocation and operation are managed by a 15-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 association.
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.
The water provision system
Within the community, people aren’t aware of the pressure on the boreholes and focus on more
pumping and more equitable distribution. They did however mention that a Municipal TLB caused a
leak in the main pipe supplying the reservoir almost a year ago and that this has still not been fixed.
Water is accessed in different ways:
1.Fetching from communal standpipes, using wheelbarrows and 20l containers. This is
extremely labour intensive and also competitive as queues are long and people need to fetch
all the water they need for a week in one day. (20% of households) (<25l per capita per day)
2.Illegal yard connections for households with enough resources. From these taps containers
are filled, usually large basins 210l drums and 20L containers and buckets. This practise has
been condoned by the water committee and local structures. Issues here are that these pipes
often leak and that this practise (~80% of households) reduces water availability to the
communal taps. Often those collecting from communal taps, need to wait for these
households to first get water, before water is available in the communal taps. (25-50l per
capita per day)
3.Household Jo-Jo tanks, filled from the illegal yard connections or directly from communal
taps. It is estimated that around 5-10% of the households in the village do this. In theory it is
not allowed, but in practise the households that do this are the more powerful households in
the village and are part of the Traditional authority. They cannot be challenged directly and
claim that everyone in the village is free to do this.(>90L per capita per day)
4.Individual boreholes at household level in addition to household JoJo tanks and yard
connections. (>200L per capita per day)
The outcome is skewed access to water, with the poorer and more vulnerable households struggling
to access even enough for basic human needs. There is not enough water supplied through the
system to accommodate for all the illegal connections presently in place.
Figure 10: 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
reasonably sized 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 accordingly.
Figure 11: Examples of water use activities including diversified homestead food gardens, fruit production and small
livestock husbandry.
Mayephu village practices an intermittent water provision supply option, effected and managed at a
community level, to accommodate both for decreased supply and for provision of a stable,
reasonably equitable distribution system in the community. Despite the challenges posed by climate
change and water scarcity, community members are intrinsically aware of water demand for
productive activities and adapt their practices accordingly. The village's water use practices
demonstrate a clear progression from no productive activities to household gardens, small livestock,
and fruit trees, depending on the level of supply each household can organise.
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 agricultural endeavours.
Although roof rainwater harvesting is practiced 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.
The Mayephu village's experience highlights the importance of sustainable water management and
the integral role of water in supporting household livelihoods and local food production.
Community level engagement
Community water dialogues
During a community level water dialogue the past and present institutional arrangements were
explored. A community dialogue isa process of joint problem identification and analysis leading to
modification and redirection of community and stakeholders' actions towards a preferred future for
all. It is an iterative, participatory communication process for sharing information between groups of
people aimed at reaching a common understanding and workable solutions. It emphasises listening
and understanding andallows participants to express their own views and interests (Health
Development Fund., 2017).
This workshop included members of the traditional council, the water committee and around 50
community members. The process of exploration was reasonably informal, consisting of a list of
prepared questions which were discussed, but also allowing for further questions from both the
facilitation team and the community, as they arose.
Figure 12: One of the community meetings/ dialogues in Mayephu
Institutional arrangements
Below is a summary of some of the points raised and discussed during the community level dialogue.
The water committee (6 members) is a voluntary grouping and has been in place for a long time and
consists for members of the traditional council and royal house as well as elected members from the
community. The committee calls meetings and respond to community needs and suggestions. They
fix leakages and manage illegal connections, report back to the community and assist in taking the
payments required (not recently). They also work with the pump operator as required.
In the past, payments to the Municipality were manged by the traditional council... Everyone would
be called to a meeting and each household had a book which was stamped upon payment.
For each communal standpipe there are households allocated to that tap and these households
contribute towards fixing taps and pipes in their area/sections.
The pump operator is the only person who has working knowledge of the system both electrical
and solar and who knows how much water is being pumped.
The traditional council liaises with the Giyani Local Municipality if there are water issues and these
concerns are relayed to the Mopani District Municipality, who is the WSA for the area. The Royal
House is only involved if there is a crisis as their primaryresponsibility is dealing with community
issues and conflicts.
The traditional council
supports the water
committee, but as there
have not been major water
issues in Mayephu, unlike
other villages, this has not
really been necessary.
Figure 13: Venn diagram for
relationships in the community
around the Water Committee
The strong working relations
between the Royal house,
traditional council and the
broader community in Mayephu has led to a stable, reasonably non-conflictual water access
management system tailored to both the needs of the community and the constraints of the water
infrastructure. Som of the biases inherent in this approach however arealso visible here and include
a lack of accountability, technical expertise and the exclusion of disadvantaged community members
(Hofstetter, van Koppen, & Bolding, 2021).
Payment for services
These discussions were held with the intention of exploring options for payments by community
members for operation and maintenance of their system.
The community is aware that in towns people pay for water access. They will struggle to pay in these
villages as people are unemployed and survive primarily off social grants, which is not enough for all
their needs, as these grants also have to provide for their farming activities. Participants did mention
that they could collect and contribute on an ad hoc basis for maintenance of the system, with items
such as taps, pipes, valves and broken pumps.
In the past they paid R5/month/household to the ‘municipality’ for diesel for the borehole pumps.
At that time, not all the households were paying, but those who did not weren’t allowed water
allocations for funerals. Despite the financial contributions, maintenance of thesystem was not
undertaken well by the Municipality as there were leaks and breakages that went unattended for
long periods of time.
They were not open to discussing options of using stokvels and savings groups as vehicles for
payment for water services and believe that the system set up through the water committee and
traditional council should be adequate for payments.
The group felt that it is the community’s responsibility to look after the infrastructure and do day-to
day management and maintenance. They admitted however that people in the community don’t
really take responsibility for this. They felt that those with illegal yard connections should at the very
least ensure that their pipes do not leak, as this wastes a lot of water.
A community discussion surrounding the reverse osmosis followed. Participants felt that although it
could be good to have good quality drinking water, they have already been using this water and
have not suffered any ill effects. The fact that this will bea separate system and that only small
quantities can be provided was of concern as they could not see a way that such a system could be
equitable. The Jo-Jo tank is being planned to be erected close to the main tank, so the same people
who are already benefitting from more water, will also benefit from having good quality water.
In principle, the idea of those using more water needing to contribute financially was agreed upon
by the group.
The meeting suggested that those who have yard connections could be expected to pay, but not
those households who need to fetch their water with wheelbarrows from the communal standpipes.
In general, the community needs to meet to outline the issues of which households have access to
which standpipes and to even out the allocations so that everyone has access, before discussing
contributions from the whole community. The latter is possible only if it is a small monthly
contribution. An inventory will also need to be made of everyone who ahs Jo-Jo tanks connected to
the water provision system and all those who have yard taps, to initiate the process of payment for
improved access.
The solar system for the boreholes needs to be guarded and a roster for this security will need to be
set up similar to the livestock security system already in place in the village.
Issues for consideration
-Refurbishment of 2 other smaller water provision systems in the village
-Provision of taps for those areas of the village lacking communal standpipes.
-Introduction of valves to be able to provide water to certain sections of the village
-A water level gauge for the main header tank to estimate weekly water availability.
-Dip meters for the boreholes to assess water levels and recharge.
-Water quantity and equitable distribution The 700000/ header tank can provide around
50l per person per day to each of the ~1940 people in the village. However, it is not known
how much water is actually pumped every week and distribution in the villageis very
skewed, with some only accessing 20l per person per day and others accessing up to 100l
per person per day. A few households cannot access water directly and need to get water
from neighbours. A system of management that takes these issues into consideration and
provides of more equity in distribution will need to be designed by the community.
-In closure community members suggested that this dialogue has been extremely useful for
them and that such discussions should happen more often. They appreciate the hands-on
approach and feel that this is becoming more and more important, as Government is failing
them and they need a better understanding to be able to take on some of these issues
A community-managed water supply service is an approach that gives communities full or limited
control over the management of their water resources whether it is for drinking, livestock, irrigation
or other uses. These guidelines focus on self-supply waterservices provision mechanisms. Within
self-supply mechanism, there could be a water scheme that is 100% funded, governed and operated
by the users. There could be a blended self-supply approach as well where a state organor an NGO
and a community institution work together to provide water services to a community.
In both instances, community-managed water supply would essentially involve governance,
operations and maintenance (O&M) of a water system (or a water scheme). This approach has been
in use long before the birth of integrated water resource management. In this context, community-
managed water supply services would pivot on participation of water users with regards to policy
making, operations, cost-recovery, maintenance and building a water fund for future upgrades
and/or major repairs of the scheme. A community water institution would need to partner with an
external development agency to carry out water provision mandate. In addition to provision of
water infrastructure, an external development agency would also carry out the following activities:
Institutional strengthening which culminates in the establishment of community-based water
institution and meaningful participation of water users in decision making platforms and
Training, capacity building and supervision of community-based water institutions to govern and
supervise the operation of water infrastructure,
Mobilisation of financial resources including setting up a cost-recovery system,
Training, capacity building and supervision of volunteers and/or staff to enforce rules such as
cost-recovery and water sharing strategy, and
Provision of water education programmes which may include water safety, health and
Guidelines for implementation of the village water dialogue approach
The following are three main phases of village water dialogue approach drawn from the experiences
of rural community water supply schemes implemented by non-governmental organisations. This
proposed approach suggests that municipalities need to consider partnering with non-governmental
organisations and community institutions to ease the planning, financing and delivery of sustainable
water services to rural communities.
Phase 1: Community organisation, organisational development and community education
Advocacy and community participation are central components of development work. To achieve
community participation, both communities and development organisations need to establish firm
partnerships and to have a good understanding of how government policies and services impact
different rural development. The focus of this phase is enabling and preparation of a community
institution for engagement. This phase is concerned with:
Dissecting the status quo and what a community currently does to survive water starvation
Educating communities about policies, plans and budgets that relate to water service provision
Identification of community stakeholders and stakeholders outside a community and confirm
their roles and responsibilities regarding water service provision
Helping communities to organise themselves into community representative structures in order
to facilitate and ease engagements with municipalities and other state institutions
During this phase, support organisations must study and understand both the integrated
development plan and the water services delivery plan of a water services authority (municipality).
Support organisations should select the most appropriate participatory tools and adapt them to a
community water supply goals. These tools may include social or village maps, Venn diagram, rivers
of life, and others.
Social maps
Social village maps provide a comprehensive picture of a community, community stakeholders,
social networks, social relations, community problems, community assets and resources. Social maps
are generally used as a platform to encourage participation and to gain deeper insights from the
experiences of communities (or project participants). Social maps would help to identify water
sources, discuss history and strength of each water sources, and discuss changes that have occurred
over time and help to probe potential solutions from communities.
Venn diagram
Venn diagram are facilitated specifically to analyse power relationships within and outside a
community. It is used to probe who has power, who participates, who have links to whom, etc. In
the context of a community water supply, Venn diagram can be usedto show powerful individuals
and groups in a community that have influence on decision making, and outside organisations that
can promote of frustrate a development project.
River of Life
The strength of rivers of life (RoL) is its ability to facilitate a dialogue that makes it possible for
participants to dissect their real-life journeys and learn while they unearth their lived experiences.
Main stages of rivers of life may include stressors, frustrations, failures, sad times, success and good
times. Community members tend to learn from one another while they unearth their life-journeys
both as individuals and as a collective. Thus the significance of this tool is that it is able to empower
the communities to learn from their lived experiences and identify opportunities for change.
The main outcome of this phase should at least include the following:
Trained and capacitated community representative water institution or committee,
List of stakeholders, their roles and responsibilities,
Water sources in a community, and
Clear vision of a community in terms of water service provision
Phase 2: Village water dialogues and packaging of a water supply project proposals and action
This phase focuses on deepening a community’s understanding of water scarcity and consequences
of vulnerability. It considers how government policies and services and their absence negatively
affect a community and what a community needs to do to mitigate vulnerability. The outcomes of
the first phase are used to formulate water project proposals and action plans. A water project
proposal and action plan are used as a basis for stimulating a dialogue with public organisations and
in particular, a municipality. This phase considers the following questions:
What is it that is currently done by public organisations with regards to water service provision?
What is done by a community to provide itself with water?
What more can be done by public organisations?
To what extent can communities work together with public organisations to advance water
How best can public organisations manage water provision together with communities?
The outcome of this phase is a simple water supply project proposal and action plan which clearly
defines the roles of responsibilities of each party as well as financial resources required to construct
a water system/project. In addition to the action plan, a support organisation should help the
community to develop community project scorecard and performance monitoring checklist. These
must be combined to develop a community accountability plan. Basically, a community
accountability plan outlines the roleand responsibility of a community during and after the
execution of a development project.
Training and capacity building of a community representative structure on; rules of participation,
mobilisation of community contribution and establishment of a water fund, employment of local
labour and emerging/small contractors, development of cost-recovery policies, etc. precedes the
construction of a water system. Skilled and experienced field personnel as well as budgets to fund
social engagement, training and capacity building, supervision or mentoring of community water
institutions, etc. must be made available by a supporting organisation.
Phase 3: Implementation of action plan and community accountability plan
This final phase is concerned with implementation of a water project. During this phase, community
members monitor all the processes that are involved in the implementation, operations and
maintenance of a water project. Both community accountability and sustainability plans are
developed during the implementation.
While the community accountability planfocuses on roles and responsibilities of a community in
terms of cost-recovery, water sharing, caring of water infrastructure, monitoring contamination, etc.
the main focus of a sustainability planis protection and conservation water sources. For instance,
communities must be empowered to monitor the output of their water source in order to decide
most appropriate times for households to fetch water.
Management of operations of a water system occurs in two parts.
The first part is concerned with effective daily operations of all components of water
infrastructure such as, electrical equipment, pumps, machinery and the reticulation system
(holding tanks/reservoirs, distribution pipes and taps) by various skilled technical volunteers
and/or staff on the ground.
The second part is concerned with skills and competencies of volunteers and/or staff to plan and
execute all management functions required by a community-managed water supply system. This
includes resource mobilisation, financial accountability and generaladministration.
Maintenance of a water system mainly deals with the activities that keep the system in proper
working order on daily basis by qualified volunteers and/or staff. Maintenance should focus on
preventive maintenance, servicing, responses to breakdowns and costrecovery (which includes user
satisfaction and willingness to pay for a water service). The main outcome of this phase is a simple
and resourced partnership agreement between a community and the municipality in terms of
community’s role in water service provision.
In closing, a partnership agreement should form part of thestate’s initiatives to re-integrate
community-based management models into rural water services provision. There is an urgent need
to face and solve the lack of sustainable management of rural water schemes but there should be
clear frameworks and definedroles and responsibilities amongst stakeholders.
Case study 1: Community owned water access:
Mahlathini Development Foundation assisted 4 groups in two villages in Mametja-Sekororo in
Limpopo with self-supply water provision options for multipurpose use in 2019, with funding
assistance from the US Embassy.
These schemes were developed with community members organised into Climate Resilient
Agriculture learning groups, from where water committees were constituted. Water walks and
assessments of present water access, water sources and the like were undertaken,including an
assessment of active and dry boreholes in these villages, followed by a community level process for
pinpointing the preferred sites for their new boreholes. Use of springs and or streams for this
activity was discounted due to the deficit in surface water and over abstraction of these sources by
the wider communities. This was followed by a professional groundwater survey and a process of
scenario development with the assistance of an engineer to outline options.
Negotiations with the water committees and groups followed as not all participants could be
assisted and new participants also came on board. Financial contributions for each participant was
Upon drilling, the groups needed to be further consolidated, as only 2 of the 4 boreholes drilled
provided enough water for use.
The small table below outlines this process.
Village name
No of participants
who were initially
No of participants
who completed the
project (direct
Overall indirect
beneficiaries (5
members/household x 3
Sedawa 1
Sedawa 2
3, 2
Turkey 1
8, 7
Turkey 2
, 6
85 (55
, 30
Explanation of numbers in the table above:
ØInitial participant lists were those learning group members who were prepared and able to
contribute financially as agreed through the water committee meetings; R400 per
participant for Sedawa (increased later to R800 each) and R500 per participant for Turkey.
ØFour boreholes were drilled, one in each village, but only two of these (Sedawa 1 and Turkey
2) yielded water. As a consequence
oSedawa 2; most participants withdrew and their contributions were returned to
them. 5 participants continued for whom a 5000l JoJo tank was installed under the
Sedawa 2 scheme, from which they can collect water manually.
oTurkey 1; 15 participants continued and 2200l JoJo tanks were provided to them for
rainwater harvesting as an alternative to borehole water.
ØSedawa 1 and Turkey 2 participants decreased as a few of the prospective participants were
too far away and or situated above the borehole and could not be provided with piped
water through this process. In addition, a few participants wanted the water piped to their
fields rather than their homesteads. As fields are all much further away and would require
large volumes of water, the water committees asked these participants to withdraw from
the process.
ØEach household has an average of 5 household members (numbers were gleaned from
baseline studies conducted in the villages under the RESILMO programme).
ØHouseholds also share their water with neighbours, friends and family in adjacent
homesteads. An assumption has been made that each participant shares with 3 other
households, based on informal discussions with participants during a water access audit
undertaken recently during the COVID-19 lockdown period in the area.
In both schemes the electrical box for the pump was installed in one of the member’s homes and
header tanks as well were placed inside a suitable homestead, to reduce the threat of theft and
vandalism. Cognisance of the potential conflicts that could arisefrom having group based resources
inside individual homesteads was taken.
This process is described to provide an example of the need for ongoing engagement and
negotiation, linked to information provision and learning, to allow participants to understand the
nature of the localised patchwork approach to water provision and alsoto allow them to understand
the level of engagement required from them. In this process the facilitation was undertaken
carefully to ensure equity in beneficiation and support for the poorer community members. As an
example, those households with their own private boreholes were excluded from the schemes after
an extensive negotiation process.
The approach taken was to tackle issues as they came up and to also follow an approach of stepwise
incremental rule- making for the groups, rather than to try and trash out all potential outcomes and
rules beforehand. This was done as most community members did not initially fully grasp the
complexity and scale of what they were undertaking, thinking this was going to be easy. Allocation of
water, pumping schedules, monthly payments, maintenance and operational issues and the like had
to be re-negotiated a number of times before a suitable process was finalized.
These two schemes were visits again 3 years after initiation to ascertain how they were functioning.
Sedawa self-supply option
Eventually 19 participants were included, instead of the 16 originally agreed upon. The additional 3
participants were expected to provide some of their own piping and labour to effect their
installations, as their households were much further away from the main pipelines, hence their
initial exclusion.
Below is a bullet point summary of the functioning of the scheme:
The scheme has been divided into 3 subsections with 6-7 participants who receive water 2
days/week. A total of 2500l is allocated to each household per week, translating to around
72l per person per day of water.
Pumping is undertaken once a day to fill the 2x5000l header tanks. This precaution, set in
place to protect the borehole from over-use has been well respected.
Generally, the scheme is running well and all
households are still involved and receiving water.
The agreement that each household would
provide their own storage options has not worked
that well- as some households have not organised
this well and generally just leave their pipes
running on their allotted day.
Magdalena Malepe, who controls the pumping 6
days per week is still doing this work, despite a lot
of internal conflict and difficulties with the
monthly payments. A record is kept of individual
payments by one of the committee members.
Some months, payments have been complete, but
other months where household cash flow is
restricted (such as January and February), very few
payments have been made.
There is an agreement that members report
leakages or other issues and then work together
with the committee to fix these. There have been
cases where households have reported the issues,
but then have not followed through by assisting to
fix them notably with the 3 participants who
came into the process later, who somehow have failed to understand their individual
commitments. In other cases, this process has worked well.
As agreed, if conflicts arise that the group cannotsort out internally, the matter has been
taken to the Traditional Council, with mixed results. In some cases, the TC has assisted, while
in others they have claimed that it is not their mandate.
Participants mentioned that access to
this water has changed their lives
substantially, as they are now able to
undertake productive and income
generation activities which were not
available to them before, including for
example small poultry businesses,
intensive vegetable production for sale,
improved yields and food availability in
their homes as well as water for their
They really appreciate having water
access at their homes and that they no
longer need to spend long hours
fetching water.
They also mentioned that they are
slowly learning to manage issues by
themselves but find that external
facilitation here is sometimes very
helpful and necessary.
Suggestions made by the group for improvements.
Meetings should include the full committee and group to ensure that small caucuses with
individual agendas to do not develop.
A person should be appointed in the group to ‘police’ the pipes check them on an ongoing
basis for leaks.
A maintenance committee should be formalized, so that members know who to talk to
when issues arise.
Meetings should be held with the TC to urge them to assist in cases of conflict and provide
the water committee with some authority.
Turkey 2 self-supply options
Turkey 2 (roughly 800 households) is an example of a patchwork of self-supply options only, as no
bulk water supply options have been implemented there for the last 35 years.
A number of different options are in use in the village:
Mvula trust scheme (whole village), late 1990’s. Now services around 30% of the village only
Private water suppliers, who manage pipes in the mountain for water access to households,
who pay for this service, usually around R30/ month, after an initial investment of around
A range of informal group-based options with reticulation, ranging from between 5 to 26
participants, both from pipe connections in the mountains and boreholes. Some of these
schemes do not last long either due to their source drying out or drying and collapsing of
boreholes drilled.
The MDF supported group-based scheme with 14 participants.
Individual supply, either with pipes from springs in the mountain or household level
Use of unprotected springs for fetching water
Buying water from ‘water sellers’ they come with tractors and water tankers and will fill a
2 200lJo-Jo tank for R350.
Buying water from neighbours generally R5/25L
In summary, there are many small informal initiatives. Access to water sources in the mountains and
for springs is on a first come, first serve basis and there is no coordination of efforts at a village level.
All options require a significant investment from participants, which means that the poorer people in
the village have been left out. They are allowed to collect from neighbours and the informal schemes
for free, but amounts are limited generally to a 25l bucket per person, per day. There is also a shop
in the village where community members are allowed to collect water for free. Generally, people
who have to buy water are also the poorest in the community and water access for them is
extremely expensive and limited. For the MDF scheme the issue of equity was important and poorer
people were prioritized for this scheme.
Almost all the options are intermittent supply so on specific days of the week, rather than
continuous. Supply is however more than the 25L per person per day outlined for Basic water supply
and averages between 50-100L. This is more inline with international standards for basic water
supply as outlined by UNICEF.
There is little to no focus on water quality within any of the water provision options (Mvula and MDF
did water quality tests upon scheme initiation but have not continued with this practise). All water
suppliers are informal, unregistered and the source of water delivered is often unknown. People are
aware that they are drinking unpurified water.
Figure 14: Above Left to Right. A cement rainwater harvesting tank, installed by Mvula Trust no longer operational and
replaced by a 2200l Jo-Jo tank in a household in Turkey 2. And old Mvula Trust tap, no longer operational. A small pipe
from an individual borehole and collection containers for a group-based scheme.
In the early 1990’s Mvula Trust and DWA implemented a water supply scheme for Turkey villages 1-
4, from water sources in the Blyde Mountain foothills behind the villages, through a series of high-
level dams to communal standpipes as a gravity-fed system. Individual households also had an
option of accessing household standpipes. In addition, cement rainwater harvesting structures were
built in a large number of the households.
The arrangement was a 70/30 split in financial contribution from Mvula Trust and the community
and there was full involvement for the whole implementation process.
The water committee for this scheme is still active in Turkey 2, although over time some of the lines
have become dysfunctional and now only around 30% of the village is supplied through this scheme.
Reasons given were an increase in the number of households in the village, drought and climate
change which has reduced the amount of water available, and a large number of illegal connections
made in the higher portions of the village, which has meant that those lower down no longer have
access. The community has been unable to effectively police the latter, as they have not authority to
enforce removal of these connections.
The MDF supported self-supply scheme was in essence developed along similar lines, but with a
focus on equity and multi-purpose uses. As a borehole scheme, pumping is required, which requires
ongoing monthly contributions from members. This has been going very well in this village, with
little to no conflict. There are community level water monitors, ensuring valves are opened and
closed and checking pipes for leaks. They also ensure no illegal connections are made in their
system. Group members are cognisant of fluctuations in water levels in their borehole and have
agreed to a lesser supply during winter to avoid over-pumping of their borehole. There have been no
conflicts arising from having both the electricity supply and header tanks in individual households.
Figure 15: A Picture of the water committee meeting in Turkey 2 (Feb 2024), showing the large proportion of women
involved in the local water supply options.
A discussion was held with the learning group around developing more collaboration within the
community around water access options as well as with the Mopani District Municipality, who is the
WSA for the area. Their impression was that the initiation of free water linked to very poor service
delivery, has had a very negative effect on the community, thus recognising in full the need for
collaboration and payment. They did however stipulate that payment should be to a localized
committee which can manage the maintenance and operation on a day-to-daybasis, rather than a
generic payment to the Municipality. They mentioned that they can easily manage general operation
and maintenance, but that problems come in when expensive items break that cannotbe replaced,
such as borehole pumps, electric boxes and the like. They felt that the Traditional Council is well
placed to assist with management and conflict resolution, but that interventions would be required
to assist them to recognise and undertake this role in their communities.
Case study 2: Community owned water access
STULWANE-BERGIVLLE (KwaZulu-Natal) Community owned water access schemes: Springs and
This is a descriptive case-study of a recent and still ongoing community- based water access
initiative, aimed to highlight the depth of community involvement and the ongoing and iterative
nature of such schemes.
The project area referred to as Stulwane (or Costone) is located near Emmaus in the Okhahlamba
(Drakensberg) region of KwaZulu-Natal and consists of 99 households. The community here has no
access to a reticulated municipal water supply. In 2021 various water sources within the
Stulwane/Costone area were considered for development as part of a small community owned
water access scheme, supported by Mahlathini Development Foundation and WWF-South Africa
with corporate funding from Pepsico. The project was also supported with technical expertise by an
agricultural engineer, experienced in developing low cost, gravity fed systems. The water sources
included a number of springs and a borehole. Due to the area topography, spread of households,
and location and strength of the various water sources identified, more than one water source
would likely be required to cover the project area. In 2022 the project developed one of the springs
to supply water to a section of the community (~25 households). In 2023 consideration wasgiven to
developing an additional water source to extend coverage to some of the remaining village sections.
The water sources considered in this phase of the project were:
A community borehole with handpump (near the cattle dipping tank)
A spring fed tank and communal tap (next to the road below the dipping tank)
Two additional springs (near spring 4) identified by the community.
Springs situated in small perennial mountain streams (at higher elevations)
The picture below indicates the sources as well as the already completed spring protection process
(in green).
Figure 16: Local water sources and present local water access (April 2023)
Between April and August of 2023, further discussions were held with the water committee, learning
group members and the community.
Both the dipping tank borehole and small spring protection close to the road below the dipping tank
were excluded as potentials, due to low water availability and low potential for providing water
access to a number of households.The in-stream springs at higher elevations were investigated.
These streams were indicated by the community as perennial. A point high enough to be away from
livestock contamination was viewed. Water would be abstracted from a small concrete weir built in
the identified streams and piped by gravity to a main storage tank part way down the hill. Water
from this tank (or tanks) would then be split to each village section (Stulwane A and Stulwane B).
Another storage tank would be required above each village section in order to reduce the pressure
in the line and serve to provide additional water storage. Due to the higher elevation of the stream
abstraction points water supply couldreach all parts of the village sections. Water quality tests were
recommended to be carried out on this source as well.
Some potential challenges of these sources were:
How assured is the supply towards the end of the dry season.
There is evidence of high flow (moving rocks) during downpours. This would mean that
maintenance to the off take may be required during the rainy season every year.
From Google Earth there is evidence of some livestock activity on top of the mountain
and in the drainage (catchment) area of the stream. This could mean a possibility of
the water becoming contaminated.
Figure 17: Possible alternative source to supply Costone/Stulwane village.
A meeting was held with the community on the 1stand 2ndof June (60 participants) to discuss the
scenarios proposed by the engineer as well as community level engagement, contributions and
Figure 18: Community meeting to discuss water supply scenarios in June 2023
Agreements were made about separate sources to be used for village A and B and also the split of
participating households (69) between the two sub-schemes. Households agreed to provide labour
for implementation as well as R500 /households towards the infrastructure.
Implementation was planned and separated into 3 phases. This was to organize and strictly keep
track of the progress of this program including the buying of the materials for this program. The first
phase is working from the sources up until the first Pressure Tank in both sections. Phase 2 is simply
about channeling water from the source to the first pressure tank then to the header tank. The last
phase is about reticulation, supplying water from the header tank to the standpipes which will be
positioned along the main community roadand other points closer to households.
Despite the present involvement of uThukela Water in the area, community members were adamant
that they did not trust that those schemes would come to fruition.
They have had too many bad experiences in the past. In addition, the
community has not been consulted at all regarding the placement of
schemes and taps. They were determined that working with
Mahlathini is a much better option as this is then within the
community ambit to use and manage. They expressed gratitude for
being involved and a strong commitment to manage the schemes once
set up. They specifically mentioned that the water access has made
the lives of women and specifically young women in the households
tasked with water collection a lot easier. Fetching of water can now be
done easily and within a short period of time. Access is now also close
enough to allow for limited irrigation of small household gardens.
Financial contributions for maintenance and one-off requirements to
set up the scheme were also willingly agreed to.
Figure 19: Right: Interns and eco champs finalizing the list and map positions of
participating households.
The first two phases were completed by December 2023, with
finalisation of collection of community contributions by end January
Figure 20: Above Left to right: Construction of the weir and v-box in stream for both Sections A and B. The finalised weir,
with shade cloth and rocks in the inlet chamber and the brake pressure tank 92500l), with pipes connected form the source
and towards the header tank also for both sections A and B.
The map below indicates the final versions of the jointly derived plan towards the end of August
2023. Note the two abstraction points for Stulwane A and B and the 6 and 9 taps respectively,
Figure 21: Stulwane Phase 2: With two abstraction points and reticulation for Stulwane A and B for all 75 participating households.
In January 2024, assessment of the condition of the sources, revealed extensive flooding and some
damage to both sources. The system design was not strong enough to accommodate this, despite
attempts to plan for high water flow options. Repairs will need to be undertaken, including
strengthening of v-box lids, and piping. Securing of pipes outsideof the flood level streambeds and
filtration of water prior to filling up the header tanks.In addition, water samples were taken during
this time for analysis of a ‘worst case’ scenario and would be taken again at a later stage when
streams subsided. Notsurprisingly these samples indicated high levels of turbidity and E Coli and
would need to be treated prior to use.
Figure 22: Views of the flooded source for Village A (Danger’s side): This shows the lid for the v-box has washed away and
pipes no longer anchored at the side of the stream, but floating.
In addition, the uThukelawater project started moving forward, with work teams digging ditches
and laying pipes from the borehole (below the wattle patch in Village A (Danger’s side) along the
same path as the community owned scheme to 4x500l header tanks, placed alongside the
community -owned tank.
A meeting was held to discuss issues, options and collaboration and care was taken to include the
Traditional Authority Induna (Hlanganisile Hlongwane -cell:0720326431), the ward councillor (Jeffrey
Dladla-Cell:0656023356) and the operational manager for ILZ Consulting installing the Uthukela
water scheme (Sibusiso Mgadi Cell:0837403646).
Upon opening and welcome
all parties noted that the
meeting was to discuss
collaboration and that the
Uthukela scheme and the
self-supply scheme were
both important and were
not competing with each
Figure 23: Mr Mgadi talking to the
Uthukela layout, His map showing
the two standpipes planned for
Costone and Village members
comparing the community owned
layout and tap placements with
the Uthukela Scheme taps.
Comparison of the two schemes
UTHUKELA WATER SCHEME. This aims to provide potable, drinking quality water, through
installation of a diesel pumpon 1 borehole below the wattle grove in StulwaneThe 1stcommunity
tap will be supplied in the line going up to the 4 header tanks, and will thus provide continuous
supply while the pump is operational. The header tanks provide 20000l storage. The pipeline from
there continues to a second tap (Village B), along the main road close to Makethi Dladla’s home,
before continuing along to the far ridge (Emahlathini village) to provide another tap on the other
side, close to the Stulwane hall and then proceeds to Emadakaneni village. The Consulting company
is to be responsible for operations and maintenance of the pump for 1 year post installation and
then the idea is to hand this over to the community, including payment for diesel.
The ward councillor provided some background, stating that the original plan was to provide bulk
supply reservoirs for both the Amaswazi district (on the other side, going towards Loskop) and the
Amangwane district (Eammus area). Due to the topography and water sources the Amaswazi
reservoir will be going ahead, but a strong source could not be found on the Emmaus side. Mr Dladla
emphasised that he had to fight hard to persuade uThukela water to provide this more localised
option, instead of not working on this side at all. The issue is that the borehole to be used is not very
strong and was initially in fact earmarked as a handpump only. The second issue is that the
consultants previously proposed a solar pump, but the costs for such a large installation turned out
to be prohibitive. The third issue is the assumption that ‘the community’, 3 whole villages, would be
willing and able to take over payments for diesel for the pump.The consultants were unclear just
how much water could in fact be provided.
Community members were clear that they should have been consulted and that provision of only 2
taps for the whole village was unworkable as a solution. They also felt that it did not make sense to
try and provide water for 3 villages from such a weak source and that it would be logistically and
socially impossible for these 3 villages to work together and pay towards a system providing so little
water. It was however also evident, that the community’s input into the design and operation
aspects of the uThukelascheme would not be taken into consideration. However, the water
committee members and Mahlathini were invited to the next scheme site meeting (25thJanuary),
which was tothe uThukelaWater officials and the consultants. This meeting was subsequently
postponed indefinitely.
This is an unprecedented situation for the WSA and their providers, where there is some recognition
of needing to involve the community, but without existing frameworks or procedures in place.
Communication has been possible due to the willingness of both the consultants and the ward
councillor to positively engage with the community. It also needs to be noted that due to upcoming
elections, there is a lot of noise around water provision as a selling point for a number of the political
parties in the area and that this in part is responsible for the ward councillor’s sudden enthusiasm.
COMMUNITY OWNED SCHEME: This water system is to provide multiple use water (not purified at
source) to 66 households, via stream abstractions in the upper catchment and a gravity fed system
to 12 taps, to ensure access within 100m- 200m of each home. Each household will have access to
between 50l and 70l of water per day. Water samples have been taken, and community members
are clear that for this system, purification at the homesteads will be required if water is to be used
for drinking. It is an intermittent supply system as header tanks need to fill up overnight before
valves will be opened to supply the taps. Community members will fetch water every morning, but
do not have access during the afternoon and evening while tanks fill up.
The two subsections (Village A and B) have both elected a water committee to manage this process
and in addition households have been allocated to a tap close by. Each ’tap group’ is to manage the
water access, use and maintenance for their tap. Costone also has a village level water committee,
which oversees water access for the entire village. There is now a patch work of small access
options, including an uThukelaborehole with 10000l header tanks and one tap (set up in 2021), the
self-supply scheme from a spring reticulated to 27 households (set up in 2021) and an older spring
protection process with one tap which is too far from households for regular use (set up in 2017). In
addition to the present self-supply option and the reticulated borehole in planning, most households
in this village will have access to at least basic access (25l per capita per day). There are between 3
and 5 households that will still be quite far from the present sources.
Strengths of this process
-Community involvement from inception through to completion.
-All households in the scheme (75) have been involved in the meetings.
-Understanding at community level of the intention for multiple sources and multipurpose
water provision.
-All households involved provided both labour and financial contributions to the scheme.
-Sub-committees were set up for each section to allow for around 20-30 households working
closely together.
-The sub-committees are represented on the village-level water committee.
-Involvement and inclusion of the Traditional Council ward councillor.
-Ongoing facilitation and problem-solving support from the NGO partner in the process
-Linking of water access to broader water resources management issue in the village and
-Incremental inclusion of neighbouring villages in discussion
-Community level agreements for water access and water use (quantity/day /household)
have been agreed to and is policed by the water committees.
-Despite numerous attempts peripheral involvement only of the municipal councillor and no
involvement from the uThukela WSA.
-The implementation of a borehole reticulation system by uThukela WSA in parallel to this
community initiative, without clear linkages and or management agreements between the
two has exacerbated the lack of trust between the community and the municipality
strengthening the community belief that the municipal intervention is an election ploy.
-Planning for implementation and water supply as well as handover by the WSA has been
unsatisfactory, with an emphasis on quickly supplying something, rather than a considered
approach to be able to reliably supply the basic water service requirements.
-Despite recognition of different flow volumes in the streams for summer and winter,
planning and implementationby the NGO and the community,was unable to fully take into
account the severity of flooding- causing damage to v-boxes and piping.
-Community members themselves work on a mainly verbal basis, meaning that agreements
and decisions often morph to what individuals want them to be, rather than what was
actually decided. Discipline in holding to group decisions is generally a bit low.
-Community members, despite agreeing to the communal standpipes will be tempted to
splice their own household taps into the system. Given that it is a gravity fed, low-pressure
system, such actions could leave a number of the existing taps dry.
Important principles that have to be considered and implemented if communities are to play a role
in their own water management are:
Communities have to be given a voice in making decisions regarding their own water.
Mobilisation of communities should happen from the very start of the endeavour and not only in
the use phase.
Recognising (on both community- and authority side) that communities have co- or complete
ownership of scheme and the responsibility that goes along with it.
Different stakeholder input and support is required through the different phases of the
intervention and through its life cycle.
Co- or complete ownership requires commitment on the community’s side to take up their
portion of responsibility in terms of operations and management of the scheme and its
Researchers and implementers of such schemes need to learn from the past, and build on the
past to create greater odds for success; and,
For communities to be able to operate within the boundaries of the law to ensure accountability
and transparency, a review of key governance processes, structures, policy and legislation is
neededin South Africa.
To address challenges and enhance the potential of community owned and managed water access in
South Africa, the following strategies and recommendations are proposed:
Strengthen the capacity building and training of community owned water access (COWA)actors
on technical, financial, institutional, and human aspects of water management.
Develop and implement clear legal and regulatory frameworks that recognize and support the
role and rights of COWA actors in water governance.
Establish and facilitate platforms for dialogue, cooperation, and learning among different
stakeholders involved in COWA and
Implement and improve monitoring and evaluation systems to assess the performance, impact,
and sustainability of COWA initiatives.
Incorporate concepts of multiple sources as well as multiple uses and deal with resultant
legalities around water quality issues. Not all water access needs to be drinking quality and more
water is needed than just for drinking.
The most important components of community-based management approach to water services are
the following:
Focus on creating an enabling environment for communities to engage with municipalities on
non-confrontational terms.
Aligning municipal and water services policies with community-based management approaches.
Incorporating the concepts of multiple use system from multiple sources in water infrastructure
development policies and strategies.
Simplifying the roles and responsibilities of community-based water institutions.
Provision of incentives and designing financing mechanisms by municipalities to promote
community-based management.
Development of community educational materials on water and sanitation, resource
management, water protection and conservation, demand management, water quality
management, etc. and
Non-punitive policies that would support community-managed water service provision.
a.Governance considerations
Below is summarized list of governance issues that needs to be considered for community
involvement in management and ownership.
1. Leadership and Decision-making:Effective leadership and inclusive decision-making processes are
crucial for community-owned water schemes. Governance challenges may arise if the leadership
lacks transparency, accountability, and inclusiveness. It is important to establish democratic
structures that allow community members to actively participate in decision-making processes and
hold leaders accountable. Regular community meetings, transparent communication channels, and
mechanisms for feedback and grievance redressal can help address these challenges.
2. Institutional Capacity: Many community-owned water schemes face challenges due to limited
institutional capacity to manage and maintain the infrastructure effectively. This can include issues
related to financial management, technical expertise, and administrative skills. Capacity-building
programs, training workshops, and support from external agencies can help address these
challenges. Strengthening the skills of community members and promoting knowledge sharing
within the community can enhance the institutional capacity of the water schemes.
3. Financial Sustainability: Adequate and sustainable financing is essential for the long-term
operation and maintenance of community water schemes. Governance challenges can include
inadequate revenue collection, mismanagement of funds, and a lack of financial planning.
Implementing transparent and accountable financial management systems, exploring alternative
financing models, and promoting cost recovery mechanisms can contribute to the financial
sustainability of the schemes. Additionally, fostering partnerships with local authorities and
exploring funding opportunities from government programs and donor agencies can provide
additional financial support.
4. Equity and Social Inclusion:Ensuring equitable access to water for all community members is a
critical governance issue. Discrimination, exclusion, or favouritism based on factors such as gender,
ethnicity, or social status can undermine the effectiveness and fairness of the water schemes. It is
essential to promote inclusivity and address any social disparities in water access and decision-
making processes. This can be achieved through gender-sensitive approaches, ensuring
representation of marginalized groups in leadership positions, and conducting awareness campaigns
on water rights and equality.
5. Regulatory Compliance:Compliance with relevant regulations and legal requirements is vital for
community water schemes. Governance challenges may arise if there is a lack of awareness or non-
compliance with water governance frameworks, permits, and environmental regulations. It is
important to develop a clear understanding of the legal framework and ensure compliance at all
levels. This can be facilitated through capacity-building initiatives, training workshops on regulatory
compliance, and establishing partnerships with regulatory authorities for guidance and support.
6. Maintenance and Operation:Proper operation and maintenance of water infrastructure are
critical to ensuring the continuous availability of safe and reliable water. Governance challenges can
include inadequate maintenance practices, lack of skilled personnel, and limited access to spare
parts and equipment. Establishing maintenance protocols, training programs for community
members, and ensuring regular monitoring can help address these challenges. Additionally, fostering
partnerships with local service providers, engaging with technical experts, and exploring innovative
maintenance approaches can contribute to the effective operation of the water schemes.
7. External Support and Collaboration:Collaboration with external stakeholders, such as
government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and development partners, can
provide valuable support to community water schemes. However, governance challenges may arise
if there is a lack ofcoordination, unclear roles and responsibilities, or unequal power dynamics.
Building effective partnerships, establishing formalized agreements, and ensuring clear
communication channels can help overcome these challenges. Regular engagement with external
stakeholders, sharing knowledge and resources, and leveraging their expertise can contribute to the
sustainability and success of community-owned water access schemes.
8. Conflict Resolution: Disputes and conflicts within the community can arise regarding water access,
management decisions, or resource allocation. It is important to establish effective conflict
resolution mechanisms that promote dialogue, mediation, and consensus-building. This helps
prevent conflicts from escalating and ensures the smooth functioning of the water scheme.
9. Community Engagement and Participation:Governance challenges can emerge if community
members are not actively engaged in the decision-making processes or if their voices are
marginalized. Meaningful community participation, including awareness campaigns, public
consultations, and regular community meetings, is crucial for inclusive and accountable governance
of water schemes.
10. Gender Equity: Women often play a significant role in water collection and management within
communities. However, they may face gender-based discrimination or exclusion in decision-making
processes and leadership roles. Promoting gender equity and ensuring women's meaningful
participation in water governance is essential for fair and sustainable outcomes.
11. Water Quality and Health Standards:Ensuring compliance with water quality standards and
health regulations is essential for safeguarding public health. Governance challenges can arise if
there is inadequate monitoring, limited knowledge of water treatment processes, or insufficient
resources to maintain water quality. Strengthening the capacity of community members and
providing technical support can address these challenges.
12. Climate Change Resilience:Climate change impacts, such as droughts or floods, can pose
significant challenges to community-owned water schemes. Governance issues may include a lack of
preparedness, inadequate infrastructure resilience, or limited access to climate information.
Integrating climate change considerations into water scheme governance and implementing
adaptation measures is essential for long-term sustainability.
13. Data Management and Information Systems:Effective data management and information
systems are crucial for informed decision-making and monitoring of water schemes. Governance
challenges can include limited access to reliable data, inadequate records management, or a lack of
information sharing mechanisms. Developing robust data collection systems and promoting
transparency in data management can help address these issues.
14. Legal and Regulatory Framework: Governance challenges can arise if there is a lack of clarity or
inconsistencies within the legal and regulatory framework governing community water schemes.
This can lead to confusion, disputes, or difficulties in obtaining necessary permits or approvals.
Advocating for supportive policies and strengthening the legal framework can provide a conducive
environment for community water scheme governance.
15. Long-Term Planning and Sustainability:Community-owned water schemes need to plan for the
long term, considering factors such as population growth, infrastructure maintenance, and changing
water demand. Governance challenges can include a lack of strategic planning, limited access to
technicalexpertise, or insufficient financial resources for infrastructure upgrades. Developing
comprehensive and participatory long-term plans can ensure the sustainability of water schemes.
Addressing these governance issues requires a multi-faceted approach involving community
engagement, capacity building, policy support, and collaborative efforts between stakeholders. It is
essential to empower communities, promote transparency and accountability, and ensure the
sustainability and effectiveness of community-owned water access schemes in South Africa. By
addressing these challenges, communities can enhance their resilience, improve water security, and
promote equitable and sustainable water management practices.
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The following broad activities are to be undertaken during this period:
ØContinuation of implementation for the CRA learning groups across three provinces
ØOngoing involvement in CoPs: AN-capacity building and learning, PGS-SA, Northern
Drakensberg collaborative
ØUpdate on postgraduatestudents’progress: Nqe Dlamini (PhD) _UKZN and temakholo
Mathebula (MPhil)_ UWC.
ØDevelopment of 3 CbCCA implementation case studies
ØDevelopment of climate resilience monitoring framework and indicator sets.
Table 3: Work plan March-August 2024
Development of
3 CbCCA case
MDF: Erna
Kruger, Betty
COPs: Continue with village level CRA
learning groups in KZN, EC and Limpopo
engaged develop case study framework
and conduct interviews.
MDF: Erna
Kruger INR:
Brigid Letty
COPs: Northern Drakensberg
MDF; Erna
Kruger, Tema
Mathebula and
Karen Kotschy
Develop monitoring framework and
indicators pilot M&E process in selected
learning groups