Human aspects of water management at impoverished settlements. The case of Doornkop, Soweto

Rafael Robina Ramírez, Luis A. Sañudo-Fontaneda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


Since 1996, the South African government has undertaken a considerable project to fulfil the proclaimed right of citizens to access sufficient water and sanitation (Government of South Africa, 1996) through traditional water management and water governance. However, democracy has not yet provided significant improvements to informal dwellers. Doornkop (Soweto) is a clear example of a community fighting for its rights to access clean water and adequate wastewater sanitation systems. Beyond traditional water management and social and environmental water governance, an ethical view of managing water policies through principles of "human dignity" and "human equality" has arisen in order to provide basic water services. Equal opportunities to manage water are provided, analysing the impact of the principles of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) upon South African informal communities through the implementation of human water governance. The objectives of the study ascertain if those two principles are relevant to improve the community's living conditions as well as to positively affect the "Principles of water governance" and the "Water principles". With this aim, a case study was set up at Doornkop (Soweto), in which 416 informal dwellers among a relocated group, a tenure group and a squatter group were tested through the Smart PLS method. Results showed that water services can be highly improved through human water management, a model that can be applied to other underdeveloped areas in the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number330
Number of pages18
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution
(CC BY) license (


  • Ethics
  • Human dignity
  • Human equality
  • Informal settlements
  • South Africa
  • Water governance
  • Water management
  • Water principles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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