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Designing to meet demand in South Africa

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-02-12, 15:08 authored by Mike Webster
The South African water sector faces two main challenges in rural water supply: • serving the 11 million rural people (65 per cent) without adequate access to water; and • implementing water supply projects in a sustainable way. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) has responded to this challenge by proposing to supply a ‘basic level of service’ 1 to all South Africans within the next ten years. However, there is serious doubt as to whether this aim will be realised and as to the sustainability of the existing and proposed projects. DWAF policy is to subsidise the capital cost of a communal standpipe supply while communities are expected to pay for the running costs. If recurrent costs are to be financed solely through user charges, this paper argues that supply needs to respond to effective demand. Effective demand for water means the quantity of water that people demand and are prepared to pay for at a particular price level. This can also termed ‘willingness to pay’ (WTP) and varies for different levels of service e.g. WTP for a communal standpipe may be different to a yard connection. WTP will vary within communities and in order to respond to this varied demand, a mixed level of service needs to be supplied. This paper investigates methods by which demand can be assessed and considers, using a case study, the technical and financial implications of designing to meet demand.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)

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WEDC Conference


WEBSTER, M., 1999. Designing to meet demand in South Africa. IN: Pickford, J. (ed). Integrated development for water supply and sanitation: Proceedings of the 25th WEDC International Conference, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 30 August-2 September 1999, pp.426-429.


© WEDC, Loughborough University


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a conference paper. The title of this paper in the Contents for this conference is "Effective demand for rural water supply in South Africa".

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  • en

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Effective demand for rural water supply in South Africa

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