There are an estimated 84,000 homes in Cape Town where the city has installed water management devices (WMDs). The devices are set to provide indigent residents (those with a total monthly household income of 313 dollars or less, or a property value of 20,890 dollars or under) with 10.5 kilolitres of free water per month. The devices cut water supply once the daily limit is reached, and turn it back on the next day. The problem is that the devices are being installed into households with low quality plumbing infrastructure, according to Taryn Pereira, a researcher with the non-profit Environmental Monitoring Group. These leaks result in residents not getting their daily 350 litres.
The Cape Town-based Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) and the Coalition for Environmental Justice (CEJ) have co-produced this video highlighting the serious issues of water leaks due to faulty infrastructure, the legacy of debt plagued by most residents and the adoption of ‘water management devices’ in poor neighbourhoods throughout South Africa. Groups in Khayelitsha, on the outskirts of Cape Town, have been working together to find people-centred and bottom-up approaches to managing their water, and exercising their citizenship, as the video shows.
I will be facilitating a Participatory Video project with lliso Care Society in Khayelitsha, in partnership with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (UBC) next week as a tool to raise awareness of some of these issues, provide youth with technical training in communications and build capacity for participatory governance that enable citizenship and improved quality of life.