Evaluating the role of the State and non-State actors in mitigating water shortages in Ethekwini municipality.
Radebe, Nokukhanya Thobeka.
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Water is one of the necessities needed for survival but due to the changing climate it has become scarce in many parts of the world, including South Africa. An investigation into the role of the state and non-state actors within the Department of Water and Sanitation in the eThekwini municipality serves as a departure point from which to critically examine the inclusion of the Millennium Development Goals within strategies and policies put in place by the eThekwini Municipality to promote water conservation and to ascertain how the state and non-state actors contribute in mitigating water shortages within the eThekwini Municipality. The collective problems of water scarcity are evident and will grow over time. This study used an environmental lens into understanding and examining the phenomenon of water scarcity and considered the link between governance as applied to water and how water is an important resource in reducing poverty and playing a part towards economic development of the country. This was highlighted in order to reveal the missing mechanisms of governance that would help public organizations and other stakeholders to take on joint responsibility for the water scarcity issue, because it is a long-term problem. This study employed a qualitative research design. Eleven semi-structured interviews with Department of Water and Sanitation representatives and the water management forum representative from the eThekwini Municipality were conducted. These were face-to-face interviews which were subsequently transcribed, and key themes were then developed, analysed and interpreted. Secondary data that were employed in this study was extracted from relevant journal articles, academic database websites and books. The transcribed interviews were thematically analysed. The findings revealed the ways in which the current water crisis can be used to find new solutions or practical ways such as the shift towards more water-efficient waste-management technologies. Furthermore, an evaluation of the role of the state in water mitigation measures is provided, based on the results of the qualitative data analysis. South Africa is a water stressed country with rising pressure on its water resources. The study recommends urgent solutions to protect water resources within this rapidly-developing country.