Factors affecting household water security in Thlabanello informal settlement in the City of Windhoek
Water security is defined as “reliable access to water of sufficient quantity and quality for basic human needs, small-scale livelihoods and local ecosystem services, coupled with a wellmanaged risk of water-related disasters.” Conversely, water insecurity is described as limited or lack of access to affordable, safe, and acceptable quality water, which is regarded a substantial threat to public health and overall well-being of people. Although it is a global challenge, many developing countries particularly find it difficult to sustain adequate water supplies necessary for basic use by humans at household level as well as for national economic and social advancements, which leaves large populations water insecure. This challenge is particularly grave in poor urban households residing in informal settlements where provision of basic services is not guaranteed mainly due to the illegal status of these settlements and uncontrolled population growth. This research study therefore focused on analysing the underlying factors that affect household water security in the Thlabanello informal settlement in Windhoek, Namibia. This was done through qualitative research methodology situated in an interpretive paradigm. Data was collected through various data collection methods, namely, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, secondary data review and direct observation of the study area after which the qualitative data was analysed to formulate the study findings. The study found that household water security in Thlabanello is affected negatively by multiple interlinked factors including, amongst others, high population growth, illegality of the settlement, low household incomes, Lack of public health information, and poor sanitation and hygiene practices at household level. Thus, the study confirms that there is a degree of household water insecurity at the settlement. To improve household water security in Thlabanello, the study recommends that the City of Windhoek should adopt pro-active service planning strategies and approaches in addressing the water security challenges at the settlement. In conclusion, the study also recommends the formalisation of the Thlabanello settlement, involvement of the community in water supply design of the settlement, and cordoning off of the Goreangab Dam to restrict access to the public, as means to promote household water security.
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