Investigating the social impact of water shortage on the livelihoods of rural settlements: the case study of KwaNonzila in Mkhambathini Municipality.
Kheswa, Sithembiso Success.
MetadataShow full item record
The provision of water is a matter of life and death to humans since water shortages may increase incidences of social injustice, as well as have adverse effects on people’s standard of living. In South Africa, water is regarded as a constitutional right. Therefore, the government has to put measures in place to ensure that everyone has access to at least a basic level of water service. The study aim was to assess the impact of water shortages on the livelihood of people living in a rural settlement. The hypothesis underpinning the study read as follows: “Water shortages in rural areas deprive the people of social justice and quality of life leading to poor livelihood strategies.” The theoretical framework used for the study was the Basic Human Needs Approach and Systems Theory. These theories were used as lenses for the study. The study was conducted in the rural settlement of KwaNonzila, in the Maqonqo area under the Mkhambathini Municipality in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. The study adopted a qualitative methodology comprising, questionnaires, an interview and observation. Thirty households were selected from a population of 255 households using random sampling. The head of each household or their spouse completed a semi-structured questionnaire. The respondents could be of either gender and had to be over the age of 18. Purposive sampling was used to select a respondent for an in-depth interview. In this regard a water and sanitation official was purposively selected for their expertise in the subject area. Observation was conducted by the researcher and was recorded in the form of photographs. Findings revealed that the main cause of water shortages in KwaNonzila was due to the lack of infrastructure and the subsequent lack of supply of water. Given this, the community of KwaNonzila is deprived of social justice and a good standard of living. In accordance with the findings, the study recommended that the local municipality should increase the number of water tanks that supply the community with water. In addition, Umgeni Water needs to upgrade the pipe that supplies the whole area of Maqonqo from one mega litre per day to 2,5 mega litres per day. In conclusion, the best way to rectify the water shortage issue would be to have a multi-disciplinary approach that would address the current shortages and impact on the future as well. Therefore, local government and Umgeni Water should develop a solution that would not only be a short-term one but long-term as well.