water conservation, water-demand management, community development, community participation, water use patterns, rural settlements
South Africa is a water-stressed country and the efficient management of the demand for and frugal use of water is a topic that can no longer be avoided. Community-based natural resource management is an alternative approach to government stewardship of natural resources, and in the instance of water management it is a particularly relevant and logical avenue to consider. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa enshrines the right of the citizens of the country to a healthy environment and to a supply of safe water. These rights are attained through relevant legislation and government action. In this study, the residents of two rural villages in the Steelpoort River basin, South Africa, were interviewed and observed in relation to their water consumption needs and water use practices. The analysis of the research findings resulted in the design of a framework to guide the development of community-based educational programmes related to the management of water demand and water conservation in the Mangabane and Makgemeng communities in the Steelpoort River basin.