Introduction to IWRM

The South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF), with the assistance of the Royal Danish Government (DANIDA), initiated a programme in 2000 to pilot Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approaches in three water management areas of South Africa. These are the Crocodile West – Marico (mainly in North West Province), Mvoti to uMzimkulu (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Olifants-Doorn (mainly in Western Cape Province). These WMAs were selected as they represent a cross-section of water resources conditions as well as water use conditions and user interests.

IWRM Phase 2 (2006 – 2010)

The current IWRM programme is different from the previous phase undertaken between 2000 – 2004, in that it is being implemented through direct support and it is driven by a partnership between the DWAF, the South African Government Department of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) and the South African Local Government Association (SALGA). The programme further supports the CMA establishment process in the start-up phases, and provides stakeholder capacity building to specific marginalised groups and local authorities.

The processes adopted under IWRM 2 are firmly anchored in the South African Government’s commitment to people-oriented governance, as captured in Batho Pele principles. These principles provide the ethical code that should guide IWRM and interactions with stakeholders in the water management areas. Moreover, in line with the South African Treasury’s wishes IWRM 2 is using donor funds to do things differently rather than more of the same or “Business Unusual”. Different implementation models are used in the three water management areas and the programme is being closely monitored in order to develop an implementation framework for replication and up-scaling.

3 Implementation models

The Three Implementation Models diagramme.

The DANIDA support focuses upon the role of IWRM in poverty alleviation and that of water as a catalyst for growth and sustainable development and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (see Intervention Logic Framework).

The overall philosophy of the programme is embedded in a rights based approach and the belief that empowerment is the expansion of assets and capabilities of poor people to participate in, negotiate with, influence, control, and hold accountable institutions that affect their lives. Thus, IWRM 2 adopts a holistic approach that aims to promote cooperative governance, empowerment, good governance and transparency. Above all, the programme seeks to demonstrate the benefits of IWRM in improving livelihoods and community well-being.

Key elements of approach

Key Elements of the Approach Diagramme.

IWRM 2 builds upon the experiences of IWRM 1, working with beneficiaries to design and implement a broad spectrum of projects that include: water awareness and conservation, food security, wetland conservation, water reuse, grey-water irrigation systems, and support to emerging farmers and water reform.

The almost seventy projects display the role that water and an integrated approach to resource management has in rights-based development. The projects originate from throughout the three water management areas are supported by DANIDA and range from building community awareness, through fixing taps and leaks, to water harvesting and monitoring ground water and climate change. Many of the projects involve emerging farmers, and address land and water reform issues. These invariably deal with food security and sustainable farming practices. In addition, a number of projects are concerned with food security for vulnerable groups such as orphans, the elderly and HIV/AIDS affected families. Appropriate technologies are being introduced to the projects to demonstrate various aspects of IWRM at the community level.

Click here to access resource, documents and guidelines from the IWRM 2nd Phase.

IWRM Phase 1 (2000 – 2004)

What is termed as IWRM Phase 1 was implemented with the assistance of a Danish service provider and was concluded in December 2004. The main purpose of the first IWRM programme was to develop a number of guidelines related to groundwater, water conservation and demand management, and to provide support to water management institutions such as water user associations (WUAs) and catchment management agencies (CMAs). The guidelines were tested through a series of pilot projects. The results of these projects in many cases, particularly in water conservation and demand management, have been taken on board by the municipalities involved.

An important component of IWRM 1 focused on the empowerment of marginalised groups through integrated capacity building programmes that involved face-to-face training and their active involvement in small pilot or microprojects that demonstrated the benefits of IWRM to their daily lives.

Click here to access resource, documents and guidelines from the IWRM 1st Phase.