Abstract for: Using System Dynamics to Explore the Water Supply and Demand Dilemmas of a Small South African Municipality

This paper explores the challenges faced by small municipalities in providing water services in a developing-world context of increasing urban demand. The paper uses a case study of the Sundays River Valley Municipality (SRVM) in South Africa. The municipality faces multiple dilemmas in reconciling its available water supply with growing demand for potable water in the primary urban settlement in the area, in a struggle that is typical of the broad category of South African municipalities to which the SRVM belongs. These dilemmas are explored using a system dynamics model, referred to as the ‘Kirkwood water demand system dynamics model’ (K-DEM). This paper specifically introduces the K-DEM structure, which is aimed at investigating the impacts of households progressively receiving full water and sanitation services; the use of rainwater harvesting as an alternative form of water supply; and the possible effect of a household-level water conservation / water demand management programme. Baseline results are discussed, and areas for future research identified.