Fed up with their municipality’s ineptitude, Limpopo villagers restore their own water supply
Cape Town - Residents of the village of Tsakhuma in the Vhembe district of Limpopo have discovered a number of springs in the mountains nearby, a victory for an area that lacked access to water, according to an African Development Bank (AfDB) report issued on Wednesday.
Florence Negondeni, a resident of the village, said there was a general water shortage in Tsakhuma and they would sometimes go for weeks without water.
According to Negondeni, the water crisis in the region started when district municipal authorities installed a new water scheme in Tsakhuma without consulting the community members.
She said the new system lacked a maintenance plan, and breakdowns contributed to water scarcity.
Fed up with the situation, Negondeni began to study the history of the community and region for clues that might improve its water security. Shortages “made me think about ancient areas in the mountains, where our people used to get water," she says.
Eventually, the villagers discovered a number of springs in the mountains.
According to the AfDB report, after undertaking a cost analysis of equipment to supply water from the springs to the village, the community members pooled funds to buy it and set up their water scheme.
The African Water Facility, which is hosted and managed by the AfDB, supported the establishment of the community scheme, which has water reserves for more than a year, at a cost of about US$7,850.
According to the report, the sum was raised from the 113 village households.
“On a monthly basis, the community members contribute R20 (approximately US$1.50) each to maintain and service the pipeline,” Florence added.
South Africa’s Water Research Commission (WRC), which funds, facilitates and disseminates research on water-related innovation, invited Florence to present her project.
The commission has since begun mobilising financing to roll out similar initiatives. As a result, Tsakhuma now has 11 communal groups, led by women, that supply 4,000 people with water for multiple uses, writes the AfDB.
The African Water Facility provided US$1.45 million in grant funding to the WRC to assess the benefits of community-driven water planning.
According to the AfDB report, funds will also be put towards implementing multiple-use water systems in six villages in Limpopo’s Vhembe and Sekhukhune districts, which are among the country’s poorest.