Rural water infrastructure and storage

Rural water infrastructure and storage


South Africa has a population of above 52 million, it is one of 53 countries located on the Southern top of Africa. It is the thirtieth water scarce country in the world. Water cannot be taken for granted. Water in South Africa is divided in the following manner:

The Department of Water Affairs is the custodian of South Africa Water Resources, it is responsible for policy formulation and implementation and overall responsibility for Water Services provided by Local Government.

The Department of Water Affairs is committed to working with Civil Society through its Masibambane Programme, this programme includes the 20 plus page. Civil Society Strategy approved November 2004 which allows for the meaningful involvement of Civil Society in the Water Services Sector Support Programme. NGOs can ensure that Water Services build infrastructure and develop people and build social capital.

The Department has 9 provincial offices to assist in provincial planning and work with COGTA.

The Department of Co-operative governance and Traditional Affairs COGTA covers the national development of Disaster Management, Municipal Infrastructure and Local Economic Development.

COGTA has the responsibility to assist the 283 local municipality who have the duty to accelerate the delivery of Water and Sanitation Infrastructure and request Service Provision.

To do this it should have effective efficient functioning institutions:

  • Have effective and adequate skilled staff who are efficiently and reliable delivering services.
  • Have an excellent procurement and supply chain management to ensure reliability of supply of water.
  • Have project management capability to monitor and evaluate project and programme development
  • Have networks for all sector role players to be involved to assist in planning, monitoring, liaison, financial monitoring, regulation and conservation.
  • Ensure there is correct leadership, vision and sustainability of supply.

The Role of Tsogang and Civil Society

Why should Civil Society be involved in the Water Sector?

  • It is politically enriching to enshrine democracy in water systems.
  • Active participation by enlightened, empowered communities will ensure appropriate sustainable development occurs.
  • The value based approach and experience of NGOs working with the poorest in deprived areas ensures that a fair and equal society is developed.

Tsogang involvement in Rural Water ensures:

  • A people centred approach to involve communities in planning and implementing water systems.
  • A capacity development approach to develop skills and confidence building, personal development.
  • People are aware and have access to knowledge and impart their knowledge and skills to the process.
  • Ownership is built so communities assist in protecting and day to day management of system.

Rural Water Infrastructure and Storage

Steps in Water Programme

Planning a Water Project

Tsogang receives 100s of requests to help with projects annually from Rural communities who lack water in villages, settlements, crèches, schools, clinics etc

In the interests of fairness we request these applications to include letters of support from municipalities, chiefs and village elders. We then try to match the application to a funding proposal.

The PRA looks at the feasibility of the project by including the community in a status report.

The PRA looks at:

  • Mapping the Area, gathering information on geography.
  • Examining Local Institutions, potential agents of change.
  • Local Resources, Capacity etc
  • Project in terms of sustainability.
  • The next step is to fund geotechnical/hydrogeological experts to examine water availability.

Water Planning

The key requirements for Water in South Africa are:

Basic Water Supply as the infrastructure required to provide 25 litres of potable water per person per day within 200 metres of a home with a minimum flow of 10 litres per minute (or 6000 litres free water per indigent household per month via house connections.

Tsogang usually plans for 50 litre per person per day via street or communal taps operating 350 days per year and not interrupted for more than 2 days while reservoirs are built for 4.8% population growth and 2 days water supply storage.

Tsogang is usually working with the basic level of service due to scarce water supplies.

Levels of ServiceTypeWater Demands
BasicYard tapsYard Tank25L per person per day6000L per household per monthFree basic water indigent house
IntermediateRoof tanks50 – 75L per person per day
Full levelHouse connections100 – 1000L per person per day

The higher the level of service, the greater the demand and the higher the cost.

Your average borehole in rural South Africa yields 2L to 5L per second in villages. Water scarcity is a reality.

Cost of Water

Water costs money to transport, clean and provide, currently water is provided in the following ways:

  • Free of charge/free basic service 6000L per house per month where municipalities can afford.
  • Fixed monthly charge per household using street taps
  • Concession system, where a household hosts a tap and charges for water and they pay municipality
  • Coupon/Vendor System, like prepaid airtime or electricity the coupon pays for a fixed amount of water.
  • Electronic Payment Meters using electronic tokens

Generally Tsogang works in the free of charge per free basic service category, so Citizens are trained to look after the system to reduce municipal expenditure.

Tsogang believes water is a valuable resources and must be conserved, by educating people to be water guarantors, to conserve Water for All and NOT to waste it.

While Tsogang is carrying out the hydrogeology survey training occurs with community members who have been elected as the Water Committee.

Implementation of Water Project

Water Projects follow a legal sequence of work that can run parallel. There are 3 main aspects to water projects.

Survey and find siteSite reservoirClear/level site find bed rockCost base slab allowing for scour valvesBuilding outer and inner brick shutteringLay reinforcing steel, steel fixing between bricksCast 25 MPA concreteRoof level steel, fits into well steelRoof is cast with trapdoors and air valvesFence suiteTrain communityClear and de bush siteCheck flow and friction lossExcavate to required depthTrain local technical team to lay pipesLay pipesBed pipe in sandBackfillMark pipelineInstall taps, where community requireProtect taps and valve boxes from vandalising/theftTrain community to operate and maintain.Hydrogeology surveySite sourceClear and develop siteDrill borehole or river abstraction and excavate damBuild/equip sourceProtect equipment from floods/theftRegularly maintain cleanFence siteTrain community.

Hand over asset to Water Service Authorities District Municipality.

Below is a document that reflects Irish Aid’s involvement in water access in South Africa. Click to download the pdf.