Human Water Governance: A Social Innovation Model to Reduce the Inequalities of Water Services in South African Informal Settlements

  • Rafael Robina RamírezEmail author
  • Willem De Clercq
  • Manuel N. Jackson
Part of the Studies on Entrepreneurship, Structural Change and Industrial Dynamics book series (ESID)


South Africa’s water policy has been criticised as an inefficient instrument to achieve the social goals of appropriately redistributing water in informal settlements. Growing global water challenges have demonstrated that Traditional Water Management methodologies based on improving the material conditions of impoverished informal settlements are not robust enough to tackle the constant emerging water challenges. Although several calls for more integrated water resources management appear in respect of global water governance highlighting the new social value and human rights, they are simply not enough to meet the needs and priorities of local informal settlements. Beyond Traditional water management and social and environmental water governance, it is important to develop not only management aspects but also the individuals themselves. An ethical view of managing water policies through social innovation has been addressed by meeting social needs in communities, which provide a new view of water management called Human Water Governance. It not only provides equal opportunities and innovative abilities to manage water but also analyses the impact of UNESCO principles in South African informal communities. Through Smart PLS, we tested 124 informal dwellers with a twofold purpose: (1) To measure the level of importance that the community gives to access to water services, and (2) To set up a water utilisation model for impoverished informal settlements that can be applied to other communities all over the world.


Social innovation Ethic Water management Water principles Informal settlements South Africa 



The research activities have been supported by European Commission through IRSES-GA-2013-612686 Project, to organize the research activities at Stellenbosch, as well as, by FEDER and Junta de Extremadura for editing the chapter of the book through the grant GR15126.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Robina Ramírez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Willem De Clercq
    • 2
  • Manuel N. Jackson
    • 2
  1. 1.University of ExtremaduraCáceresSpain
  2. 2.Stellenbosch University Water Institute (SUWI)StellenboschSouth Africa

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