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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


COETZEE, Hendri; NELL, Werner  and  BEZUIDENHOUT, Carlos. An assessment of perceptions, sources and uses of water among six African communities in the North West Province of South Africa. Water SA [online]. 2016, vol.42, n.3, pp.432-441. ISSN 1816-7950.

The aim of this study was to assess perceptions, sources and uses of water among African residents of six different impoverished communities in the North West Province (NWP) of South Africa. A sequential exploratory mixed-methods design was used. Twenty-five purposively selected community members took part in the qualitative phase of the study, and during the quantitative phase a sample of 1 000 participants was proportionately and systematically selected from the six communities. The qualitative results were used to develop a structured questionnaire to quantify and verify the initial findings. The quantitative findings revealed that the majority of participants (72.4%) regard their water quality as average, and believe that water should be conserved and used sparingly (97.2%) and be provided free of charge (90.5%). Results also revealed that residents mostly obtain their water from local government (municipal) sources (76.5%), and that they mostly use water for drinking (98%), cooking (98.8%), flushing toilets (95.9%), washing themselves (bathing) (98.4%), their hands (99%), clothes (99.1%), and personal property (99.3%), as well as to water their gardens and domestic plants (93.2%). Finally, it was found that most people (83%) store their water in a fridge inside their homes. The results of the study have direct practical implications for water management and for the development and implementation of water-related interventions and projects in the NWP.

Keywords : African; beliefs [attitudes towards water]; human-water interactions; perceptions about water; water conservation; water sources; water use.

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