Patterns of domestic water inadequacy on the South African West Coast

Rush K. ; Van Huyssteen M.K.R. ; Olivier J. (2000)


Regional surveys aimed at identifying water inadequacies are important in providing a proper empirical base for remedial actions regarding water supply. This study examines patterns of domestic water inadequacy in the Sandveld region along the arid South African West Coast. It is based on the results of a questionnaire survey conducted in August and September 1995 amongst 62 respondent communities between the Orange River in the north and the outskirts of Cape Town in the south. Aspects of water inadequacy that are investigated include the occurrence of water shortages as well as deficiencies in water quality and accessibility. Domestic water shortage is defined at two levels: a short-term shortage is deemed to exist where less than 25 l is currently available per capita per day, and a medium-term shortage where between 25 and 55 l are available. The study identifies seven communities in the former category and a further 12 in the latter. Virtually all of these water-short communities are small (< 1 000 population) agricultural, service or mission hamlets of which the majority are to be found in the former so-called 'Coloured Rural Areas' in south-central Namaqualand. Most of the seven communities with serious quality deficiencies in their water supply, and a majority of the considerably larger number with suboptimal accessibility conditions, occur here as well. Yet the worst-off communities in both these respects - and also in terms of overall domestic water inadequacy - occur further south in two smallish clusters west of the lower Olifants River and in the Swartland district near Cape Town respectively.

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