A practical assessment of spatial development frameworks in terms of water resources for development
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There is no single resource so essential to sustaining life and livelihoods than water (UNDP, 2005). Water is furthermore a strategic resource that not only gives life, but is also a catalyst for development; therefore water has to and must be at the centre of all development plans (Buyelwa, 2009). Water can be the limiting factor for economic growth, upliftment and social development due to its scarcity and uneven distribution. Strategic spatial interface and relationship with water resource planning and management is fundamental to development and realisation of spatial potential. Strategic spatial planning has many components of which the Spatial Development Framework forms the key regulation to guide development and inform investment opportunities. The goal of this study is to determine the degree to which water resource management and planning is incorporated in Spatial Development Frameworks in context of strategic spatial planning. Concurrently international strategic spatial planning procedures and water resource management principles are investigated to correlate the local situation with international trends. A Goal Achievement Matrix (GAM) with ten assessment principles is developed as a tool for evaluation of strategic spatial planning and water resource management documents in terms of the local municipal level. This GAM may be used and implemented as a comparative evaluation tool to compare the degree of integration and implementation of water resource management and strategic spatial planning of local municipal authorities internationally. The percentage score as achieved in evaluation of the GAM indicates the degree of integration of water resource management and planning with strategic spatial planning. The cumulative result of the GAM scored 68% which can be used as a degree of comparison in future studies with other local municipalities, even on an international level. Measured in terms of the different authority levels the local level performed the worst with a 50% GAM score whilst the national level has a high GAM score of 86%. The low local level score indicates that exceptional legislation and policies on national level are not sufficient to eradicate poverty, provide water for all and provide for long-term sustainability if the implementation at local level falters. The low local level score may also be attributed to a lack of institutional capacity and lack of appropriate skills. It is concluded that Spatial Development Frameworks (as a component of strategic spatial planning) and water resource management and planning on a local level are not effectively integrated and it is recommended that water resources and planned future development must be effectively managed and integrated in order to ensure sustainable communities at local level. As a planning recommendation, the Guidelines for the Development of Spatial Development Frameworks developed by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform must be extended to incorporate the integrative approach between strategic spatial planning and water resource management as a fundamental aspect. The effective integration of water resource management and planning in strategic spatial planning is key to sustainable, equitable and viable communities.