Title

The Working for Water Program: How South Africa is Taking Back It's Water Supply

Presenter Information

Amy McCoy

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

The Republic of South Africa’s establishment of the Working for Water program in 1995 brought with it substantial international attention. After the abolishment of apartheid in 1994, the Republic of South Africa still faced endemic social inequalities, and a large strata of the nation’s population relied on primary economic activities requiring adequate freshwater supplies. Created as a means to simultaneously address water scarcity, invasive species, and unemployment levels estimated up to 51 percent, the Working for Water program, which employs citizens to remove water-intensive invasive plants, has simultaneously received sharp criticisms and substantial accolades. This research utilizes a mixed-methods approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to identify the principle successes, limitations, and socio-economic impacts of the program. While results indicate substantial success in increasing water availability, at least temporarily, the more illuminating outputs are less tangible: identifying how a nation deals with the harsh realities of centuries of colonialism and social injustice while attempting to restore the country and its environment.

Poster Number

26

Faculty Mentor(s)

Michael Pease, Craig Revels

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

Additional Mentoring Department

Geography

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May 16th, 2:15 PM May 16th, 4:44 PM

The Working for Water Program: How South Africa is Taking Back It's Water Supply

SURC Ballroom C/D

The Republic of South Africa’s establishment of the Working for Water program in 1995 brought with it substantial international attention. After the abolishment of apartheid in 1994, the Republic of South Africa still faced endemic social inequalities, and a large strata of the nation’s population relied on primary economic activities requiring adequate freshwater supplies. Created as a means to simultaneously address water scarcity, invasive species, and unemployment levels estimated up to 51 percent, the Working for Water program, which employs citizens to remove water-intensive invasive plants, has simultaneously received sharp criticisms and substantial accolades. This research utilizes a mixed-methods approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative research methodologies to identify the principle successes, limitations, and socio-economic impacts of the program. While results indicate substantial success in increasing water availability, at least temporarily, the more illuminating outputs are less tangible: identifying how a nation deals with the harsh realities of centuries of colonialism and social injustice while attempting to restore the country and its environment.