IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Integrating equity into a water allocation model to promote water sharing in environments with vulnerable stakeholders

Sinetemba Xoxo, Jane Tanner, Denis Hughes, and Sukhmani Mantel
Sinetemba Xoxo et al.
  • Rhodes University, Institute for Water Research, Makhanda, South Africa (g13x2945@campus.ru.ac.za)

While some progress has been made towards improving the sustainable management of water resources, challenges remain. In the water scarce Doring River, in South Africa, these are associated with achieving equitable sharing of the resource among a range of stakeholders which include commercial farmers and emerging farmers.  A participatory water sharing tool has been developed which aims to contribute to  water governance, and includes some key variables such as  the inclusion of uncertainty, environmental Reserve requirements (environmental flows), and the incorporation of socio-economic factors associated with water use. The Institute for Water Research at Rhodes University developed the water sharing tool in response to the Panta Rhei initiative. The tool promotes water sharing at a community level by different water users/user groups, and it encourages deliberation to identify an optimal water sharing (or reallocation) strategy by communicating frequency distributions of assurance shortfall risk. The tool explicitly considers epistemic and alleatory uncertainty; the water users’ value for environmental water requirements; and considers social heterogeneity using socio-economic factors that may influence the way people make water use decisions. However, the tool has never been applied in practice. To complete the tool’s development, a commercial farming setting (i.e. the Doring River in the Koue Bokkeveld region of South Africa) will be used as a case site. The model allocates the available water resource based on the differing impacts on users (impacts of the same deficit will be different for emerging and commercial farmers for example), and produces information which assists the stakeholders to manage the risks of the shortfalls. Ultimately, the stakeholders select the best water sharing option based on a number of possibilities, produced through various combinations of socio-economic factors. In light of growing water scarcity, and the highly uneven distribution of water often found in developing nations, the tool’s approach can be valuable in negotiating increasing water crisis among very different users/user groups.

How to cite: Xoxo, S., Tanner, J., Hughes, D., and Mantel, S.: Integrating equity into a water allocation model to promote water sharing in environments with vulnerable stakeholders, IAHS-AISH Scientific Assembly 2022, Montpellier, France, 29 May–3 Jun 2022, IAHS2022-207, https://doi.org/10.5194/iahs2022-207, 2022.