Incremental Improvements to Community Water Supply Systems

CONFERENCE: WISA (Water Institute of South Africa),  Durban.

YEAR: 2010.

AUTHOR: Rosenfeld, Jason

TITLE: Incremental Improvements to Community Water Supply Systems through Community Health Clubs in the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality.


According to recent assessments, Africa as a whole is currently on track to reach Goal 7of the Millennium Development Goals, while South Africa in particular already halved the number of people without access to safe water in 2005. Despite this achievement, many rural communities throughout South Africa still lack access to this vital resource, which is exacerbated by a culture of dependency on and institutional limitations of local governments. One such area is the Umzimkhulu Local Municipality of the Sisonke District of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Province, where approximately 66% of the population has no access to water infrastructure of any kind and 99% have access below the RDP standards. To address this gap in coverage, AfricaAHEAD, under the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs’ Integrated Water Resource Management project, piloted a Community Health Club (CHC) project to show how the CHC Approach can be utilized to address the historical backlog of water and sanitation service delivery in this rural municipality through the promotion of self-supply water schemes. After six months of structured WASH promotion, three out of the nine CHCs took the initiative to incrementally improve their available water sources and thereby began independently climbing the Water Ladder, while 59% of member households began boiling their household’s drinking water. Through a process that changes social norms via structured communal dialogue and peer pressure, the CHC Approach provides communities with a platform from which they can unchain the shackles of dependencies and chart their own developmental course.


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