Stakeholder perceptions of raw water quality and its management in Fetakgomo and Maruleng municipalities of Limpopo Province

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
African Economic Research Consortium
This study applied the Q methodology to investigate stakeholders’ perceptions about the most important ecosystem services provided by the Olifants River, and the management strategies that could potentially improve the river’s raw water quality. This is because deteriorating water quality is an issue of concern amongst the different stakeholders who, directly or indirectly, derive utility from the Olifants River. The river is an important source of raw water and other ecosystem services used for environmental, domestic and commercial purposes to support wildlife, households and drive production in South Africa. As a public good, the Olifants River is of interest to both private and public stakeholders with different interests in the resource, some of which may be conflicting. Since stakeholder perceptions influence environmental outcomes, the need to account for stakeholder perceptions is an important step to integrate and coordinate efforts to improve the management of raw water. Using 27 statements and 14 stakeholders drawn from Maruleng and Fetakgomo municipalities of Limpopo Province, the results show that stakeholders held three distinct viewpoints about the most important ecosystem services produced by the Olifants River: ecosystem services that are sources of employment-creation; ecosystem services that provide direct goods/services; and a mixed/holistic perspective that placed importance on all categories of ecosystem services. Using 31 statements and 16 stakeholders drawn from Maruleng and Fetakgomo municipalities, the results showed that stakeholders held four distinct perspectives about solutions to improve water quality: polluters must be made accountable through monitoring and enforcement of regulations; more organisation and coordination is needed in water quality management; innovation, and creativity in water resources the management through capacity building; and major changes have to be made in how things are currently done. The policy implications for the study findings are that the results can be used to: (a) inform policy about integrated water resource management; and (b) help in designing non-market valuation studies of the Olifants River that include outcomes that are most meaningful to stakeholders.