Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Water Load-shedding in Beaufort West, South Africa: Lessons Learnt and Applied During the 2009-2011 and 2017-2019 Droughts

Version 1 : Received: 29 June 2021 / Approved: 1 July 2021 / Online: 1 July 2021 (13:17:32 CEST)

How to cite: Visser, W.P. Water Load-shedding in Beaufort West, South Africa: Lessons Learnt and Applied During the 2009-2011 and 2017-2019 Droughts. Preprints 2021, 2021070027 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0027.v1). Visser, W.P. Water Load-shedding in Beaufort West, South Africa: Lessons Learnt and Applied During the 2009-2011 and 2017-2019 Droughts. Preprints 2021, 2021070027 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202107.0027.v1).

Abstract

Increasing and prolonged droughts have become a feature of the South African environmental landscape. This article investigates the sustainability of water procurement to the rural town of Beaufort West and the reasons for the town’s water provision crises during the droughts of 2009-2011 and 2017-2019. Innovative solutions were reached to alleviate the serious water-shortages during these droughts. Data to illustrate population increases and precipitation decreases, which impacted on the town’s water resources, was collected from census records of Statistics South Africa and from the Department of Water and Sanitation, respectively. A number of risk factors contributed to the town’s water crises, e.g. unsustainable water extraction at times of serious droughts, poor water monitoring, metering and attention to leakages, an expansion of informal settlements within the municipal boundaries of Beaufort West, as well as annual rainfall patterns that became increasingly unpredictable. The article concludes that water resource development had not kept pace with demand, therefore water infrastructure should be built with enough capacity to cope with regular dry periods. Equilibrium should be reached between the water expectations of the community and water availability to avoid future social instability in water-stressed towns such as Beaufort West.

Subject Areas

Beaufort West; drought; Gamka Dam; boreholes; water load-shedding; reclamation plant; municipality; bottled water

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