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Is Universal Access To Water Possible: A Plan For Kwazulu-natal, South Africa

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Mark Summerton
Umgeni Water1

Keyword(s): Sub-theme 9: Water allocation among competing uses and users,
AbstractIntroduction South Africa is exposed to many of the pressures of a developing country, notably the provision of access to basic services such as a sustainable source of drinking water. In 1990 it was estimated that around 15 million people were without a safe water supply. Recently there have been numerous, and often contradictory reports that attempt to quantify the extent of the countries, backlog to drinking water. These backlog numbers are often used as a basis to determine and justify the infrastructure programmes required to reduce the backlogs, as part of the countries water supply planning process. These reports usually emanate from water utilities (such as Umgeni Water) that develop bulk Infrastructure Master Plans (IMPs), Water Service Authorities (WSAs) that develop Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Water Services Development Plans (WSDPs). In addition to these water supply plans, there are currently several supporting programmes including the Department of Water and Sanitation's (DWS) Total Water Services Business Master Planning process, the All Towns / Reconciliation Studies, the Prioritisation of Water Services to 23 District Municipalities, the Interim/Intermediate Water Supply Programme (IIWSP), Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG), and the Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) Universal Access Plan (UAP). It is widely recognised that the water supply planning process, to date, has not entirely fulfilled the water planning requirements of the country as was originally envisaged. Realising that many of these initiatives have a common vision and agenda, Umgeni Water, as an agent of both COGTA and the DWS recently undertook a water access planning programme for the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). The main objective of this project was to co-ordinate the development of an "all-inclusive" conceptual water supply plan for KZN. The plan includes: * The development of continuous water supply footprint areas showing demographics, current and required levels of water service, and importantly any gaps in water service delivery to the 1.8m households in KZN, * The provision of conceptual plans of regional or stand-alone schemes to supply water, * In areas where regional schemes aren't viable or where an interim water supply is needed to meet intermediate deadlines, a local scheme is recommended, and * An indication of costing and implementation timing to address water backlogs. Methods/Materials To provide a basis of all water planning studies to date, a status quo assessment was done of all existing studies and reports relating to water supply. This included the all town studies (by DWS), all municipal WSDPs, IDPs, Infrastructure Grant Projects, various Geographic databases, and field verification with the Municipalities themselves. Spatial datasets including Eskom's building count data (2011), the DWS Level of Service data, Census 2011 (Stats SA) and orthophoto imagery were used to delineate continuous Water Supply Footprint Areas showing current and required levels of water service. These footprints were verified where possible with the relevant Municipal officials during site visits. The footprint data has been used as a central repository for all relevant data including future water demands. Existing and planned water supply schemes were identified initially from the status quo assessment, and then verified where possible with the relevant Municipal officials. To address the short term water backlogs, local and regional supply schemes (at a conceptual level) have been proposed and costed to achieve Universal Access to water for all 10 Municipalities in KZN. These schemes range from schemes with small water treatment plants to bulk lines, reservoirs to reticulation and stand pipe connections to boreholes with tanks and hand-pumps. Various pre-existing Infrastructure Grant projects (included in Table 1) were generally not considered when proposing conceptual alternate schemes to eradicate current backlogs. Consequently, there could be overlapping of the proposed conceptual schemes to the regional bulk schemes and thus overlapping of infrastructure costs. In addition to reporting and maps, all spatial data have been loaded to the DWS national spatial database. Results and Discussion There are some 300 000 (of 1.8m) households without adequate access to potable water in KZN. The study found that to achieve Universal Access would require some 1400 schemes at a cost of ca. EUR 1.5 billion. This study is however at a conceptual level of detail and it would be necessary to improve the results with further studies. Conclusion Although it would appear that universal access to water is possible, this is fraught with difficulties. Notably, the study is based on small, short term and often unreliable schemes. Consequently, Umgeni Water has commissioned a second phase of this study to identify areas where sustainable regional schemes could be used. Many don't have the means to pay for water, hence making the viability of water supply challenging, especially for longer term operation and maintenance of the schemes. Nonetheless, Umgeni Water is continuing with it's quest to provide clean safe water to all people in it's area.
2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin