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Opportunities for integrating Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) in informal settlements as part of stormwater management

Malulu, Ihuhwa Catherine (2016-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

 

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The lack of stormwater drainage systems in South Africa’s informal settlements has negative implications for human life and livelihoods due to flooding, resultant relocation, and the increased potential for water-borne diseases. Informal settlements, expected to exponentially increase in numbers and size due to urbanisation trends and lack of housing for low- and no-income groups, are often located in areas not suited to human habitation, such as wetlands. In addition, they are often located in topographical areas that are difficult to service, such as steep slopes, and configured in a way that makes it difficult to impose conventional systems. Besides the physical challenges to implementing systems in these contexts, South African municipalities face cost and capacity challenges regarding basic service provision. South Africa’s guiding document to implementing and upgrading these settlements, the Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme, focuses almost entirely on issues of water, sanitation, energy and housing provision. Drainage is also marginalised in the general policy discourse focused on improving the living conditions of those in informal settlements. The need to find and implement alternative drainage solutions is paramount. This study seeks to motivate for such an alternative approach and to explore the options available. The study, using a mixed-methods approach, examines the potential for incorporating sustainable urban drainage systems into the Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme, the benefits offered by these systems, their alignment with sustainable development principles and the challenges to implement them in the informal settlement context. It does this using a sustainability framework and a complexity theory lens. The interactions between urban water cycles, drainage solutions and behavioural aspects combine to create a ‘wicked’ problem – one that is complex and cannot be reduced to simple parameters. An understanding of systems and complexity thinking was therefore needed to ascertain the contribution that a sustainable urban drainage system could make in the informal settlement context. The informal settlement of Enkanini, Stellenbosch is used as an illustrative example of the need for such systems and the Century City drainage system is given as a real-world example. A predominantly qualitative approach was used as there is a dearth of literature on the subject and no current application of sustainable urban drainage systems in the informal context available to examine in literature. A literature review provided a theoretical framework for the study and three main policy documents were analysed using the Nvivo 10 software package to gather both quantitative and qualitative data by coding and categorising the content, which was then substantiated by content analysis, a review of associated grey literature and personal interviews. The study outlines the consequences of a lack of drainage systems in the informal context, the need for alternatives to the current conventional system, the benefits such a system could offer, as well as its limitations. It contributes to filling a gap in available literature on the subject in the South African informal settlement context and hopes to help escalate the call for stormwater drainage systems to be incorporated into the Upgrading Informal Settlements Programme. Keywords: Stormwater, sustainable urban drainage systems, informal settlement, complexity theory, water-sensitive urban design, flooding, sustainability, urbanisation, conventional drainage systems, Nvivo 10.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Die gebrek aan stormwaterafvoerstelsels in Suid-Afrika se informele nedersettings hou negatiewe implikasies vir mense se lewens en lewensbestaan in weens vloede, gevolglike hervestiging en die verhoogde potensiaal vir waterverwante siektes. Informele nedersettings, wat na verwagting aanmerklik in getalle en grootte sal toeneem weens verstedelikingsneigings en die tekort aan behuising vir lae- en geeninkomstegroepe, is dikwels geleë in gebiede wat nie vir mensebewoning geskik is nie, soos moeraslande. Hierbenewens is hulle dikwels geleë in topografiese gebiede waaraan dienste met moeite gelewer word, soos op steil hellings, en die vorm daarvan maak dit dikwels moeilik om konvensionele stelsels toe te pas. Buiten die fisiese uitdagings om stelsels in hierdie konteks te implementeer, kom Suid-Afrikaanse munisipaliteite voor koste- en kapasiteitsuitdagings rakende basiese diensverskaffing te staan. Suid-Afrika se riglyndokument vir die implementering en opgradering van hierdie nedersettings, die Opgradering van Informele Nedersettings-program (OINP), fokus byna uitsluitlik op kwessies van water, sanitasie, energie en behuising. Afvoer word ook in die algemene beleidsdiskoers gemarginaliseer, waarin die fokus is op die verbetering van die lewenstoestande van inwoners in informele nedersettings. Daar is ʼn dringende behoefte daaraan om alternatiewe afvoeroplossings te vind en te implementeer. Hierdie studie het gepoog om motivering te bied vir sodanige alternatiewe benadering en het ondersoek ingestel na die beskikbare opsies. Die studie het, met ʼn gemengdemetode-benadering, die potensiaal vir die inkorporering van volhoubare stedelike afvoerstelsels in die OINP ondersoek, asook die voordele wat deur hierdie stelsels gebied word, die ooreenstemming daarvan met volhoubare ontwikkelingsbeginsels en die uitdagings om dit in die konteks van informele nedersettings te implementeer. Dit is aan die hand van ʼn volhoubaarheidsraamwerk en ʼn kompleksiteitsteorielens gedoen. Die interaksie tussen stedelike watersiklusse, afvoeroplossings en gedragsaspekte span saam om ʼn ‘bose’ probleem te skep – ʼn probleem wat kompleks is en nie tot eenvoudige parameters verklein kan word nie. Begrip van stelsels en kompleksiteitsdenke was dus nodig om die bydrae wat ʼn volhoubare stedelike afvoerstelsel in die konteks van informele nedersettings kan lewer, te bepaal. Die informele nedersetting Enkanini in Stellenbosch is as voorbeeld van die behoefte aan sodanige stelsels gebruik en die Century City-afvoerstelsel is as ʼn werklike voorbeeld gebruik. ʼn Kwalitatiewe benadering is hoofsaaklik gebruik, aangesien daar ʼn gebrek aan literatuur oor die onderwerp is en daar geen huidige toepassing van volhoubare stedelike afvoerstelsels in die informele konteks beskikbaar was om te ondersoek nie. ʼn Literatuuroorsig het ʼn teoretiese raamwerk vir die studie verskaf, en drie vernaamste beleidsdokumente is met die Nvivo 10-sagtewarepakket ontleed om sowel kwantitatiewe as kwalitatiewe data in te samel deur die inhoud te kodeer en te kategoriseer, wat daarna deur inhoudsanalise, ʼn oorsig van verwante grys literatuur en persoonlike onderhoude gestaaf is. Die studie beklemtoon die gevolge van ʼn gebrek aan afvoerstelsels in die informele konteks, die behoefte aan alternatiewe vir die huidige konvensionele stelsel, die voordele wat so ʼn stelsel kan bied, asook die beperkings daarvan. Die studie vul ʼn gaping in die beskikbare literatuur oor die onderwerp in die konteks van Suid-Afrikaanse informele nedersettings en sal hopelik help om die beroep op die inkorporering van stormwaterafvoerstelsels in die OINP te versterk. Sleutelwoorde: stormwater; volhoubare stedelike afvoerstelsels; informele nedersetting; kompleksiteitsteorie; watersensitiewe stedelike ontwerp; oorstroming; volhoubaarheid; verstedeliking; konvensionele afvoerstelsels; Nvivo 10.

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