A framework for conjunctive use at local government level

Conjunctive use of surface water and groundwater resources offers huge advantages to municipalities. It can significantly increase the resilience of the municipal water supply to drought situations. Optimal use and integration of different sources would result in a yield of the total system that is higher than the combined yield of each source separately. However, integrated water resource management (IWRM) in general and planned conjunctive use of both groundwater and surface water resources in particular have not been successfully implemented yet in South Africa. Six selected case studies of municipalities across South Africa, which utilize both surface water and groundwater for the water supply to specific towns, have undergone a review of their current water governance provisions wrt groundwater, surface water and conjunctive use. The review has been based on a questionnaire for direct interaction with the local government officials, supported by other readily available documents such as municipal Integrated Development Plan (IDP) and Water Services Development Plan (WSDP), municipal websites, Blue Drop and Green Drop Assessment Reports, Municipal Strategic Self-Assessment (MuSSA) and the All Towns Reconciliation Strategy reports. These case studies reveal the different institutional arrangements for water resource management and water supply services that exist in municipalities. The advantages and disadvantages of the institutional arrangements for each case study have been determined. Problem areas identified include split of responsibilities for surface water and groundwater resources between different institutions, lack of financial and HR support within the government spheres, lack of formal and structured stakeholder engagement, insufficient monitoring for both sources, inter alia. Based on this comparative study of different municipalities, a draft framework of optimal institutional arrangements and governance provisions at local government level is developed to support the integration and optimisation of surface water and groundwater supply. The proposed framework is based on three pillars; viz. leadership and clear structures within the responsible local government institution, formal engagement with all relevant internal and external stakeholders and a sufficient monitoring network that supports the stakeholder engagement and decision making.

Presenter Name
Presenter Surname
Conference year