Rural water resources: an exploration of access, usage, characteristics and implications for rural households at Ivuna Nongoma Kwazulu-Natal.
Kunene, Tholakele Rose-Mary.
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Water plays a very important role in our lives as said by the poet, Mazisi Kunene. Water is vital for human survival and livelihoods. In addition, enough supply of clean drinking water for household use and economic development is perceived as an important tool for addressing inequalities of water distribution of the past in South Africa. Improvement in water supply can redress vulnerability experienced by rural communities through water scarcity. An increased understanding of the impact of water on livelihoods of rural dwellers is important for sustainable development. Although studies on water sources have been conducted in the past, this is the first study in the Nongoma area.. This thesis examines the accessibility and manageability of different water sources to local people with the aim of providing a set of recommendations based on the research findings. It is imperative to note that government has committed itself to the provision of free basic water for those who cannot afford to pay for the service. In reviewing existing studies on present water coverage by the government, particularly in rural communities, it is clear that this goal will not be achieved in the near future. Itshodo area at Ivuna, where the research for this thesis was conducted, is even worse of in terms of water scarcity. Thus, this study attempts to fill the gap in current research by investigating water sources and their impact at Ivuna area in Nongoma. The Zululand municipality as a whole is stricken by a severe water shortage, as evidenced in current studies. Through a literature review, focus group sessions with the local people and interviews with key informants, the researcher discovered that the Ivuna community is vulnerable to water scarcity. Urban-biased development, a high unemployment rate, and exclusion of water beneficiaries in the decision making processes are contributory factors to both scarcity and management of water resources. Study findings confirm that the ability to access clean water locally promotes local production of agricultural produce and other income generating projects.. It has a direct proportional inverse to food security, improvement of living standards and poverty eradication in rural areas worldwide. Improvement in water supply and management will have a positive bearing on rural communities if decision makers involve water beneficiaries who will use this resource productively.