CUREJ - College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal

True Access: User Benefits to Water in Urban South Africa

Megan K. Calpin, University of Pennsylvania

Division: Social Sciences

Dept/Program: Political Science

Document Type: Undergraduate Student Research

Mentor(s): Tulia Falleti

Date of this Version: 09 April 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.



This thesis analyzes the management and governance structures for the delivery of water in South Africa since the decentralization of government. Previous views of access have been too focused on rights and have failed to take into account a user’s ability to utilize those rights. In proposing a broader theory of true access to water, I set forth a method of analyzing a user’s ability to continually benefit from public services through structural, relational, and ideological mechanisms. Two metropolitan municipalities of comparable size and development—Johannesburg and eThekwini (Durban)—serve as the case studies to which the theory of true access is applied. Levels of developed infrastructure to water in 2001 will be compared to the levels in 2007, while taking into consideration the web of mechanisms that affect the inclusive vision of true access. Thus, this thesis will assess the effectiveness of a fully corporatized model (Johannesburg) as compared to a ring-fenced, state-run model (Durban) of water management and delivery.

Suggested Citation

Calpin, Megan K., "True Access: User Benefits to Water in Urban South Africa" 09 April 2010. CUREJ: College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal, University of Pennsylvania,

Date Posted: 27 April 2010

This document has been peer reviewed.




Creative Commons License Articles in CUREJ are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.