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Title: Debating supply and demand characteristics of bulk infrastructure : Lesotho-Johannesburg water transfer
Authors: Letsie, David
Bond, Patrick
Date: 2010
Publisher: Municipal Services Project, Queen's University, Kingston, ON, CA
Series/Report no.: Background research series
Abstract: Relating bulk infrastructure requirements to basic household needs is not merely matching a supply-side response to aggregate demand curves. Both the supply and demand sides must be evaluated extremely critically during periods of scarcity (both fiscal/financial and ecological) when, as in the case of water for the Gauteng region, the society must contend with poor historical planning, inordinately unequal access to and use of resources, uncertain intergovernmental fiscal relations and municipal fiscal strain, ecological fragility, waste in consumption, lack of affordability for basic service consumption, ineffective subsidy systems and vigorous contestation of township politics. These are general problems common to South African infrastructure planning. In the case of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, these problems catalysed a community challenge -- by leading activists of Alexandra township, later endorsed by the Alexandra Civic Organisation itself -- to not only the municipal and national government departments responsible, but to the World Bank team which did much of the bulk infrastructure design work. The failure of that challenge, in legal terms, does not undermine the technical and moral truths which were raised by Alexandra residents in 1997-98, which in turn may lay the basis for a more rational linkage of bulk and basic infrastructure systems in future. This chapter includes the five core documents provided by the Alexandra residents, the World Bank, the South African government and the Bank Inspection Panel, as well as concluding remarks.
Project Number: 105141
Project Title: Alternative Public Service Delivery Models in Health, Water and Electricity (Africa, Asia, Latin America)
Access: IDRC Only
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