Facilitating an improved Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) model in Madibeng Local Municipality
Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has become a universal paradigm of enhancing and promoting sustainable and equal water resources management and use. However, integrating water functions is a very complex task because it involves many actors with different interests. This research analyses the application of the IWRM approach and the related principles of integration, decentralisation and participation in the development and management of water resources in water regime at the water- use sectors of Madibeng Local Municipality (MLM). A case study approach was used for the research to examine IWRM in water sectors; the institutional structures and processes of institutional change; and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) at constitutional, organisational, and operational levels. The constitutional level refers to water policy and the law, organisational to water resource management, and operational to water use. One aim of IWRM is to improve water governance by enhancing inclusive decision-making to secure more equal water development decisions for all stakeholders, including communities at the grassroots level. However, water resource management is still largely centralist in nature and does not really enhance participation of local level government in the management processes of water resources. MLM operational environment and political culture (‘top-down’ governance) represent a unique analysis context for IWRM implementation because it represents one of the last centralised water regimes and monolithic political/decision-making structures. Therefore, it can provide a more simplified structure, where there are no channels providing local/outside knowledge impacting on decision-making compared with complex Western governance models. The implementation of IWRM is facing difficulties and constraints, the most serious being a lack of capacity of water actors and officials, especially at lower government (district and village) levels and a sectoral approach to water development and management. In addition, the government’s ability to build capacity to strengthen institutional structures and procedures with policies and legislation is weak. This study was, therefore, undertaken to investigate how a Madibeng Local Municipality which is forced to obtain its potable water supply from nearby surface and groundwater catchments, could manage this supply in a more effective, efficient, equitable, economic and sustainable manner by means of improved cooperative governance and intergovernmental relations. The key motivation was thus to develop an IWRM model that would manage water resources more effectively on strategic, tactical and operational levels within government structures; and also to assist in realising the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) within the catchment areas, especially in an effort to compensate for the areas in which IWRM is unable to live up to the original goals. The proposed IWRM model could be used to develop a shared vision for the Bojanala Platinum District Municipality (BDPM) municipal area of responsibility; and to provide an overview of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats regarding the management of water resources in the locus area.
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