Water and sanitation provision in eThekwini Municipality: a spatially differentiated approach


Environment & Sanitation

Publication date: 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


  • Research paper


External to ACUI

Project theme: 

The rescaling of responsibilities in water governance in South Africa has enabled strong water services authorities, such as the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Unit (EWS) in eThekwini Municipality, to play a leading role in shaping water and sanitation policy in South Africa. Yet water governance in the city is complex, shaped by the interactions of multiple social, economic, political and environmental relations in a transforming, fast-growing city that still reflects the legacy of apartheid. This paper identifies and explores the four dominant water governance discourses evident at present in the municipality, namely “water as a human right”, “water as an economic good”, “the spatial differentiation of service provision” and finally, “experimental governance and incremental learning”, which frame the current approach adopted by EWS. These discourses provide the context for the reforms undertaken in water and sanitation provision post-apartheid in eThekwini Municipality. Published in Environment & Sanitation.