Andrew Macdonell, South Africa
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• Economic Necessity
Financial resources are often inadequate to fund both
the capital investment in rural water schemes and the
long term operation, repair and maintenance costs.
• Accountability Principle
Recovering costs from the beneficiary community
increases accountability by placing a price on
• Allocating scarce water resources
Charging for water is one way of minimising wastage,
or over-consumption, through economic rationing. In
short, a mechanism for cost recovery can be used for
water resource management (even if actual costs
recovered are minimal).
The Percy Water scheme near Queenstown in the Eastern
Cape is a typical example of a small standalone scheme.
Funded by Mvula Trust, the breakdown of costs at Percy
gives a good indication of costs that can be recovered.
Of these costs, only the costs of operation, maintenance
and minor repairs (C&D in Fig1) are recovered from the
R 266,195 19%
SCARCE FINANCIAL, HUMAN and water resources are major
constraints on the delivery of sustainable water supplies to
the previously disadvantaged rural communities of South
Africa. Of these constraints on sustainability, the scarcity
of financial resources has received the most attention.
During the period from 1994 –2000, the prevailing view in
the South African water sector was that some form of cost
recovery from the beneficiary communities was necessary
to compensate for the scarcity of external funding. Cost