The majority informal settlement dwellers use traditional pit latrine technology, which is inconsistent with the national development goals of the country. The lack of basic services in areas that are prone to flooding create a number health risks. Most of the informal settlements lack access to infrastructure services particularly WASH facilities.
The introduction of the Free Basic Services policy in 2001, focused on infrastructure delivery to meet the basic infrastructure needs of the country’s poor urban and rural communities - municipalities are mandated to provide limited amounts of clean water, electricity, sanitation, drainage and solid waste removal services for free to all South Africans.
Informal settlement residents often require that local authorities upgrade services in the areas where they currently live because the settlements are close to existing developed neighbourhoods. Yet spatial planning combined with the mushrooming of informal settlements tend to be laid out in a manner that is not facilitative for retrofitting systems according to conventional engineering standards.
The South African Government aims for excellence in basic service delivery, by mainstreaming basic service delivery to informal settlements and backyard dwellers, however this can only be achieved through efficient decentralised water and wastewater solutions. Results show that although informal settlements rely on decentralised technologies, there are no planned mechanisms in place at the institutional level to support the provision of these services. As a result, many low-income communities are left behind. Importance must be placed on resource efficiency and security to enable sustainable municipal infrastructure and services support.
At MEB we believe that managing water and wastewater equitably will drive economic development, through timeous upgrades of basic services and the implementation of decentalised projects for informal settlements.