Craig, L, 2011 –– The Viability of Biofiltration Stormwater Management Systems in Informal Settlements in South Africa
Liezl Craig (South Africa)
South Africa is scattered with numerous informal settlements, with 1.1 million households living around nine of the major cities (Del Mistro & Hensher, 2009). Informal settlements, internationally known as slums, can broadly be defined as the illegal occupation of land, and are therefore not supplied with basic urban infrastructure (Parkinson et al., 2007). The settlements are usually densely developed and infamous for a range of social and environmental problems.
Biofiltration stormwater systems are not a new concept internationally in the engineering and landscape architectural fields. The system relies on the system services of wetlands for the detention and purifying of water. Installed systems have proved to manage stormwater efficiently and improved the water quality of river systems in the urban setting (Brown & Clarke, 2007).
Despite the success of biofiltration systems they have not been adopted widely, and most government departments are wary of converting from traditional stormwater infrastructure for a range of different reasons.
Site visits were conducted to Orient Hills, an informal settlement in the North West, and interviews and a focus group conducted with residents of the settlement. Interviews were also conducted with members of the local municipality.
About Liezl Craig
Liezl is a landscape architect and currently works for a landscape architecture company. This particular background ignited her interest in the possible benefits of the creation of natural systems in informal settlements. Liezl's study focuses on the viability of using biofiltration stormwater systems in tackling some of the prevailing problems in informal settlements.