Development of a water management decision model for Limpopo Province, South Africa
Tshikolomo, Khathutshelo Alfred
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The study was conducted in the Limpopo Province with a focus on the Limpopo and Luvuvhu- Letaba Water Management Areas. The main issues investigated were (1) water resources, mainly runoff and storage capacity of the target Water Management Areas and municipalities, and the water gain and loss of the Middle Letaba Dam, (2) water management issues, mainly perceptions of municipal water managers on the water resource and its uses, and their perceptions on stakeholder participation, and (3) household water supply and requirement. A water management decision model was proposed based on the results of the investigations. The results of the investigations revealed that: (1) The Limpopo WMA has a MAR of 611.4 million m3 for possible development of new dams compared to only 365.2 million m3 for the Luvuvhu-Letaba WMA, and related results were recorded for municipalities in these WMAs. The storage volumes of the Middle Letaba Dam were very small compared to design capacity; (2) The municipal water managers lacked knowledge on water resources and were relatively more knowledgeable on water use. Water management decisions were made by government based stakeholders while community based stakeholders had little influence on water management decisions; (3) There was a lack of access to safe water sources, only half (50.1%) of households obtained water from street taps. The quantity of water fetched ranged from 25 to more than 200 litres per household per day and the amount fetched was more for households located near the water sources. As a result of scarcity, water was mostly used for basic activities such as drinking, preparing food and bathing. Half (51. 7%) of the households fetched less water than the 25 litres per capita per day supply standard which itself did not meet the average requirement of 37.5 litres per capita per day; and (4) A water management decision model was proposed based on the framework of the Congruence Model. The proposed model stated the main challenges faced by the water sector in the study area and assessed the capacity of the service organisations to address them by analysing the congruence between the challenges and the capacity. All assessed water service organisations only had moderate capacity to address the challenges. The lack of filling of some posts was the most significant constraint to the effectiveness of the organisations. It is therefore recommended that: (1) The Limpopo WMA be the focus for possible construction of new dams, especially the Mogalakwena, Lephalale and Mokoio catchments in the WMA as they showed to have more available mean annual runoff for possible development of new dams. Although the Luvuvhu-Letaba WMA was shown to be well developed in terms of storage dams, the Mutale Catchment had more available mean annual runoff for possible development of new dams. Regular investigations of runoff and dam storage capacity should be conducted as the current status will change due to changing rainfall patterns and dam siltation. Water should be transferred to the Middle Letaba Dam from other catchments in order to maintain this dam at a full level and consequently to improve the supply of the resource to planned areas; (2). Municipal water managers should be trained on water resources and to a lesser extent on resource uses for them to make relevant decisions on the management and use of the resource. Community based stakeholders should be involved in water management decisions and should be capacitated to be reliable sources of water information; (3) The Department of Water Affairs should reconsider the 25 litres per capita per day as a supply standard as it does not suffice for the average requirement of 37.5 litres per capita per day proposed in this study. (4) Guided by the proposed water management decision model, service organisations should improve their capacity to address water sector problems.
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