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Closing the gap between Strategic Water Service Planning and Project Implementation: A South African Perspective

Congress: 2008
Author(s):
AbstractXIII World Water Congress, Montpellier, France – 2008 Title of Paper: Closing the gap between Strategic Water Service Planning and Project Implementation: A South African Perspective. (Assumed alignment with Congress Sub Themes 1 & 5) Authors: C. H. Thompson (Pr. Eng.) Director: Planning and Development Amatola Water Board Private Bag X3 Vincent East London South Africa 5217 Telephone: +27 43-7073700 Fax: +27 43-7073701 Email: cthompson@amatolawater.co.za N. Jonker (Pr. Eng.) Director: Engineering Services Amathole District Municipality P.0. Box 320 East London South Africa 5200 Telephone: + 27 43-701 4000 Fax: + 27 43-743 0417 Email: nicoj@amatoledm.co.za Abstract: Introduction South African Water Service Authorities (WSA’s) have the mandate to provide efficient, sustainable and cost effective water services to their constituent communities in terms of the Water Services Act. Water service provision is to be guided by a Water Service Development Plan (WSDP) and is therefore the key plan in any WSA with regards to water services. A critical aspect of developing a WSDP is having accurate and detailed data concerning the status quo of water services, water resources, water demands, etc to ensure the final plan is realistic, achievable and widely supported by stakeholders. The Amathole District Municipality (ADM), located in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa completed its first WSDP in October 2000. The data used to develop the WSDP was sourced primarily from the national Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) First Order Assessment. Project implementation post October 2000 and Census 1996 revealed that the baseline data utilised in the WSDP was not suitable for the ADM to instil confidence in politicians and officials that service delivery targets set by National Government with the allocated budgets could be achieved. It was clear that the information gap between the WSDP and reality on the ground was significant at the project implementation stage. Objective The ADM therefore embarked on a process of bridging the information gap between the WSDP and the reality at the project implementation level with financial support from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry through the European Union funded Masibambane Program. Method The Mnquma and Mbhashe Local Municipalities were identified as the areas where approximately 60% of the ADM water service backlogs (people without access to basic water services) were located. The municipalities were divided into three sub regions each based loosely on magisterial districts and consultants were appointed to conduct feasibility studies encompassing each entire sub region. The consultants were managed as a team to ensure the feasibility studies were aligned along the borders of each sub region in both Local Municipalities. The feasibility studies assessed surface and ground water resources, demands, existing schemes, environmental constraints, social considerations, undertook targeted ground water exploration and the optimisation of operation and maintenance costs. Results The regional feasibility studies developed “wall to wall” water service projects for each sub region and hence each local municipality balancing technical, financial, social and environmental aspects. The water service projects detailed the locations of water sources, treatment works, bulk pipelines, pump stations and bulk reservoirs for each proposed project. Each projects cost was determined and phased in an implementation program. Conclusions The feasibility studies had a cost per capita of approximately R12 (EURO 1.33) for the Mnquma and Mbhashe Municipalities and closed the information gap between the WSDP and reality on the ground. Politicians and officials can now confidently inform communities of the plan to eliminate the water service backlogs and engage with National Government concerning the challenges of meeting the national backlog elimination targets of 2008 and 2010 for water and sanitation respectively.
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