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Past, Present and Future use of Municipal Water and Freshwater Resources of the Bekkersdal Community, Westonaria, South Africa

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 430-446
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d5.0155
Simone L. Liefferink1 , Elize S. van Eeden2, Victor Wepener1
1 School of Biological Sciences, North-West University, 11 Hoffman Street, 2531 Potchefstroom, South Africa
2 School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, Hendrik van Eck Blvd, 1900 Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

Water is a human right which is recognised globally, with an increasing focus being placed on the ethical considerations of water use. The paper focuses on investigating access and perceptions surrounding this basic need in the Bekkersdal community and the Wonderfonteinspruit, in the Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is hypothesised that several challenges exist both internally and externally in the process of ensuring the right to water in Bekkersdal, from both an environmental and service provision perspective. Through the use of a questionnaire conducted with a statistically representative group from the Bekkersdal community, the following issues were investigated: current water use of municipal and river water, challenges regarding water availability and quality, perceptions regarding the state of the Wonderfonteinspruit and future water use wants and needs. The results indicate a strong reliance on municipal water complicated with water service delivery issues, which resulted in 10% of the residents making use of the polluted Wonderfonteinspruit on a regular basis. Furthermore, the need for solutions to water supply and availability solutions should be developed in conjunction with community members. This research represents some of the first steps that need to be taken to do so.

Keywords: Water availability, Communities, Human rights, Provision of water, Wellbeing, Sustainable environments.

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