Authors: M T Maake and N Holtzhausen

Keyword: drinking water, water access, water quality, South Africa, Limpopo


Agenda 2063: A1, A2

In July 2003 the Minister of Water Affairs, now known as Water and Sanitation appointed the Mopani District Municipality in the Limpopo Province as the Water Service Authority for their area of jurisdiction as determined by the Municipal Demarcation Board. According to section 11 of the Water Services Act 108 of 1997, every Water Service Authority has a duty to all consumers or potential consumers in the area of jurisdiction to progressively ensure efficient, affordable, economical and sustainable access to water services. In response to this obligation the Mopani District Municipality appointed all five local municipalities as water service providers. In addition, the Mopani District Municipality has signed a bulk water supply agreement with the Lepelle Northern Water Board in the area of the Ba-Phalaborwa and Greater Letaba municipalities based on the fact that the board has the abstraction license and the bulk infrastructure for purifying water. This article examines the manner in which the Mopani District Municipality provided water services and the factors affecting the provision of sustainable water services. The findings suggest that the provision of water in the Mopani District Municipality is not sustainable owing to the ageing infrastructure, inadequate water resources, poor planning, limited capacity in municipalities and the nonpayment of water services by the households. The results show that it will take considerable time for the service to be sustainable, especially in the rural areas unless the upgrading of the infrastructure as well as effective and efficient conservation management is prioritised.