The management of potable water supply in rural areas of Umhlathuze Municipality

Buthelezi, Lucky (2012-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


This study gives an overview of the sustainability of potable water supply in rural areas of South Africa in general and four rural areas of uMhlathuze in particular. Three key challenges in achieving sustainable rural water supply are discussed in more detail and later on used to evaluate the inadequacy of financial revenues to cover the full operation, maintenance and replacement of infrastructure. This research study analysed the factors pertaining to the tariff structure used in maintaining and sustaining rendered service. It analysed the current tariff structure that includes the poorest and most marginalised in line with revenue needed to cover recurrence costs. It was the purpose of this study to examine the adequacy of the management system used to sustain the supply of potable water in rural areas, taking into cognisance the costs of rendering the account and of illegal connections combined with high water losses. The study also attempted to link these points to the challenges faced by the rural areas. The sustainability of rural water supply was analysed, based on financial factors, affordability and on the willingness to pay for the service. The researcher first compared the water billing (levies) and payment patterns of each customer in rural areas of uMhlathuze Municipality with others; and secondly, compared the primary data against theory and the literature. Differences and similarities between the collected data and theory were at the core of the analysis The research results determined that the municipality has the capacity to maintain and sustain the potable water supply network in these areas, while dealing with management questions and recommending to management what is needed to ensure that the water reticulation system is run on a sustainable basis. Sustainability of rural water supply seems to be dependent on factors like policy, legal framework and economic factors such as an ability to meet the costs and willingness to pay for rendered service.

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