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01-06-2021 | Original Article | Issue 3/2021

Sustainable Water Resources Management 3/2021

A systems approach to investigating non-functionality in rural water schemes: a case study

Journal:
Sustainable Water Resources Management > Issue 3/2021
Authors:
Mduduzi Innocent Shongwe, Sabelo Dlamini
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Abstract

Despite huge investments towards ensuring sustainable water schemes in rural Africa, these schemes continue to fail. Non-functionality in these schemes transcends across a plethora of constraints and this calls for systems thinking interventions. System thinking is important when dealing with complex issues such as non-functionality because it allows decision-makers to locate important intervention points which could be used as leverage to attain sustainable solutions. Previous research, however, shows that most interventions on rural water schemes’ non-functionally have rarely considered systems thinking. In this context, a study was conducted in rural Eswatini to systematically diagnose issues of non-functionality at a rural water scheme. Network analysis results indicated that user satisfaction, unreliable water supply and repair and maintenance held higher authority in the scheme with relative betweenness centrality values of 0.347, 0.319 and 0.222, respectively. It was concluded that user satisfaction should be given priority in the scheme. Besides the high centrality value, user satisfaction also formed feedback loops with most of the issues identified at the scheme. Improving the level of user satisfaction, however, required that effort be directed towards ensuring a reliable water supply and developing a sense of ownership amongst users.

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