Water Resource Planning and Natural Resource Management in Polokwane, South Africa
South Africa has the fifth lowest water availability among the 41 sub-Saharan African nations and large water demands, making it particularly vulnerable to water stress. This case study examines how to increase water access in a particularly dry area - Polokwane, the capitol of Limpopo Province - in order to protect Kruger National Park’s biodiversity and economic gains from tourism.
USAID commissioned the case study has part of its partnering efforts with South Africa. A technical team first screened a proposed dam project on a major river in the province and convened a stakeholders meeting, where possible adaptation strategies were discussed. These included managing demand for water - through water trading and other steps; improved technology - such as flood plain management; and better policy and education.
Firms then analyzed projected climate impacts for Limpopo and another stakeholders meeting was convened to select possible courses of action.
The project led to a fusion of national and local water infrastructure planning projects, and increased government interest in pursuing demand management approaches. Seven possible ways for USAID to assist Polokwane were identified, including better coordinating water use and supply between communities and expanding water metering programs.