Community-based planning of multiple uses of water: SWELL application in Bushbuckridge
This paper provides a detailed description of the process followed as we introduced the SWELL in a case study. The experience captured is relevant to other local authorities as well as other sector stakeholders interested in a more integrated approach to water services delivery (see Maluleke et al., 2005)
In Bushbuckridge, SWELL is being implemented at ward level (Ward 16, now called Ward 33). In the collective planning for this ward the immediate refurbishment of infrastructure was prioritised, while noting that operation and maintenance must also be upgraded, management improved and communication channels opened up.
An outcome of planning was that funds have been allocated from the municipal IDP (Integrated Development Plan) for refurbishment on the basis of a detailed technical and management assessment of the entire water system, undertaking awareness raising and training at the same time.
A multi-stakeholder platform is monitoring the progress of implementation, which sets the basis for ongoing coordinated action between stakeholders, and a mechanism for learning and accountability.
Overview of Project
In 2003 the SWELL approach was applied to a village level assessment focusing on livelihoods and water in Utah, one of the villages of Ward 33 of the Bushbuckridge Local Municipality. A village level analysis of the outcomes of the assessment verified results and agreed on priority areas for action from the villagers’ perspective.
This was followed by a workshop with high levels of participation that drew in officials and decision-makers to analyse and plan together. Very positive feedback recommended that the methodology be adapted to a ward level process (a Ward is typically made up of 7 to 14 villages) as the lowest level of local government planning.
In addition, it was recommended that planning and implementation should be embedded within municipal IDP planning processes to become part of district approval, sanctioning, budgeting and monitoring. Thus the strengths of community-based participatory approaches and local government planning processes would be combined.
SWELL was carried out in close collaboration with a range of stakeholders as a Ward-level planning process in a further six villages of Ward 33 in late 2004 and early 2005. The water and livelihoods assessments in the remaining five villages in Ward 33 was completed in the final quarter of 2005 as part of implementing refurbishment of existing water infrastructure project (this is one of the projects that was developed during the Ward-level planning processes).