Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 3

3
10010601
The South African Polycentric Water Resource Governance-Management Nexus: Parlaying an Institutional Agent and Structured Social Engagement
Abstract:

South Africa, a water scarce country, experiences the phenomenon that its life supporting natural water resources is seriously threatened by the users that are totally dependent on it. South Africa is globally applauded to have of the best and most progressive water laws and policies. There are however growing concerns regarding natural water resource quality deterioration and a critical void in the management of natural resources and compliance to policies due to increasing institutional uncertainties and failures. These are in accordance with concerns of many South African researchers and practitioners that call for a change in paradigm from talk to practice and a more constructive, practical approach to governance challenges in the management of water resources. A qualitative theory-building case study through longitudinal action research was conducted from 2014 to 2017. The research assessed whether a strategic positioned institutional agent can be parlayed to facilitate and execute WRM on catchment level by engaging multiple stakeholders in a polycentric setting. Through a critical realist approach a distinction was made between ex ante self-deterministic human behaviour in the realist realm, and ex post governance-management in the constructivist realm. A congruence analysis, including Toulmin’s method of argumentation analysis, was utilised. The study evaluated the unique case of a self-steering local water management institution, the Impala Water Users Association (WUA) in the Pongola River catchment in the northern part of the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa. Exploiting prevailing water resource threats, it expanded its ancillary functions from 20,000 to 300,000 ha. Embarking on WRM activities, it addressed natural water system quality assessments, social awareness, knowledge support, and threats, such as: soil erosion, waste and effluent into water systems, coal mining, and water security dimensions; through structured engagement with 21 different catchment stakeholders. By implementing a proposed polycentric governance-management model on a catchment scale, the WUA achieved to fill the void. It developed a foundation and capacity to protect the resilience of the natural environment that is critical for freshwater resources to ensure long-term water security of the Pongola River basin. Further work is recommended on appropriate statutory delegations, mechanisms of sustainable funding, sufficient penetration of knowledge to local levels to catalyse behaviour change, incentivised support from professionals, back-to-back expansion of WUAs to alleviate scale and cost burdens, and the creation of catchment data monitoring and compilation centres.

2
10009664
Urban Waste Water Governance in South Africa: A Case Study of Stellenbosch
Abstract:
Due to climate change, population growth and rapid urbanization, the demand for water in South Africa is inevitably surpassing supply. To address similar challenges globally, there has been a paradigm shift from conventional urban waste water management “government” to a “governance” paradigm. From the governance paradigm, Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) principle emerged. This principle emphasizes efficient urban waste water treatment and production of high-quality recyclable effluent. In so doing mimicking natural water systems, in their processes of recycling water efficiently, and averting depletion of natural water resources.  The objective of this study was to investigate drivers of shifting the current urban waste water management approach from a “government” paradigm towards “governance”. The study was conducted through Interactive Management soft systems research methodology which follows a qualitative research design. A case study methodology was employed, guided by realism research philosophy. Qualitative data gathered were analyzed through interpretative structural modelling using Concept Star for Professionals Decision-Making tools (CSPDM) version 3.64.  The constructed model deduced that the main drivers in shifting the Stellenbosch municipal urban waste water management towards IUWM “governance” principles are mainly social elements characterized by overambitious expectations of the public on municipal water service delivery, mis-interpretation of the constitution on access to adequate clean water and sanitation as a human right and perceptions on recycling water by different communities. Inadequate public participation also emerged as a strong driver. However, disruptive events such as draught may play a positive role in raising an awareness on the value of water, resulting in a shift on the perceptions on recycled water. Once the social elements are addressed, the alignment of governance and administration elements towards IUWM are achievable. Hence, the point of departure for the desired paradigm shift is the change of water service authorities and serviced communities’ perceptions and behaviors towards shifting urban waste water management approaches from “government” to “governance” paradigm.
1
10008902
Legal Basis for Water Resources Management in Brazil: Case Study of the Rio Grande Basin
Abstract:

The water crisis, a major problem of the 21st century, occurs mainly due to poor management. The central issue that should govern the management is the integration of the various aspects that interfere with the use of water resources and their protection, supported by legal basis. A watershed is a unit of water interacting with the physical, biotic, social, economic and cultural variables. The Brazilian law recognized river basin as the territorial management unit. Based on the diagnosis of the current situation of the water resources of the Rio Grande Basin, a discussion informed in the Brazilian legal basis was made to propose measures to fight or mitigate damages and environmental degradation in the Basin. To manage water resources more efficiently, conserve water and optimize their multiple uses, the integration of acquired scientific knowledge and management is essential. Moreover, it is necessary to monitor compliance with environmental legislation.

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