Reviving water springs - caring for our water resource
The community of Gezubuso, a semi-rural area outside Pietermaritzburg, has initiated a project to clean and revive the natural network of water springs in the area in order to meet the community’s need for water.
This project was necessitated by the constant interruption of the water supply, due to drought and climate change, by the local municipal water department. By reviving the networks of springs the community was re-appropriating a community driven water scheme that has operated for decades but went into disuse after the community was connected to the municipal water scheme in 1999. This project is led by the Sizonqoba group, a PACSA community partner, who identified the need to restorer this network of local water springs and started to clear these out so as to access this water for the community.
Decades ago these natural springs operated as a community led water scheme with households preserving these water sources. Women use to carry water on their heads from the main springs along the Mvundlweni Mountain. Water, wood and other natural resources were respected and sacred areas as they provided the community with irreplaceable resources. An innovative farmer, Mr. Mntondini Kunene, came up with an Idea of piping water to his house and soon the rest of the community did the same. The springs provided water for all household purposes including irrigation and for livestock. Now the community of Gezubuso is reclaiming these water sources in a time of intermittent drought and interruption of the municipal water supply.
A few months ago a community meeting identified the need for this project and for the community to revive the springs by themselves, using their knowledge and in a spirit of solidarity. Several meeting has since been held which resulted into several processes being initiated. First action was to visit the springs and engage the support of a water engineer to assist with a design of the scheme to accommodate the community that has almost dabbled over the past two decades. The community committed to clean the area around the springs and provide labour for the laying of pipes. It was calculated that the springs could provide sufficient water for household needs and that of small scale agriculture.
Not only is this project providing for the water needs but it has contributed towards social cohesion and solidarity and attests to the fact that communities can and are able to jointly work towards their development priorities. Community-led water schemes can make a difference in the lives of households and communities.