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TitleStakeholder participation in greywater management in South African shack settlements
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsWinter, K, Spiegel, A, Carden, KJ, Armitage, NP, Kruger, N, Dyani, N, Mngqibisi, N
Pagination12 p.; 12 fig.; 5 refs.
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsdecision making, decision support systems, south africa, waste management, wastewater, wastewater collection, water management, water resources management

While many South African urban shack settlements have been supplied in recent years with standpipes from which residents are able to draw varying quantities of potable water, they still have inadequate or no provision of sanitation and drainage. In the absence of suitable conveyance systems for the disposal of the greywater that is generated, residents in these predominantly high-density settlements resort to disposing wastewater on the ground near their dwellings. Such wastewater runoffs often merge with other effluent flows, potentially threatening public and environmental health. This study has adopted an Adaptive Decision-making Process (ADMP) approach in collaboration with residents of these settlements to implement a range of low-cost technologies as interim solutions to reduce these negative impacts until such time that formal services can be provided. The research aims to examine the roles of three primary players in the process: local street committees, elected ward councillors and the local authority structures which technically should be responsible for managing wastewater disposal. It argues that effective community-level solutions to wastewater management depend on the establishment of partnerships and trust amongst all stakeholders, and it documents the challenges faced in creating these co-operative relationships in the settlements studied. The paper highlights the myriad constraints faced by the various stakeholders, including inter alia issues of resources, technical capacity and ideology, and also shows that the local authority structures lack the understanding needed of local-level social dynamics to be able successfully to address the problem. It concludes that prospects for acquiring service delivery in the context of informal settlements are dependent on the development of social capital as a means of securing the co-operation of the local authority and elected councillors that might ultimately lead to securing land and services. (authors abstract)

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