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Spatial planning and land-use management tools in aid of securing water sustainability: The case study of Mogalakwena Local Municipality in South Africa

Hildegard Rohr
Juaneé Cilliers
Werner Fourie


The concept of Water-Sensitive Settlements is gaining importance within broader sustainability thinking. There is limited research in urban planning literature, in particular, on the quantitative impact of land-use decisions on water resources.

This article proposes a spatial modelling approach that combines land-use and water-consumption data in order to identify areas of intervention, which could feed into future development plans and strategies. The research considers the Mogalakwena Local Municipality as a case study, because of its socio-economic characteristics as well as the spatial and billing data that were generated from an ongoing research project funded by the Water Research Commission. It was evident that spatial modelling of land use and water consumption can be utilised as a tool to determine the impact of land-use decision on water resources.

Having generated spatial information on ‘where’ and by ‘which’ land use the demand for water is highest, municipal planners are able to make informed future land-use decisions, which will ultimately affect water resources. In addition, the information can be used to enforce new thinking within the municipal spatial planning domain on, among others, implementing water-sensitive mitigation measures such as revisiting water tariff structures; re-evaluating the promised level of services; implementing water-efficiency building regulations, and rethinking the business-as-usual approach to settlement planning.

Keywords: Spatial modelling, spatial planning, WSUD, Water-Sensitive Settlements