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Article

Vulnerability and Adaptation to Flood Hazards in Rural Settlements of Limpopo Province, South Africa

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Department of Geography, University of South Africa, Florida 1709, South Africa
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Department of Geography and Geo-Information Sciences, University of Venda, Thohoyandou 0950, South Africa
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Unit for Environmental Sciences and Management, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark 1900, South Africa
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Department of Urban and Regional Planning, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2351, South Africa
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Global Change Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
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Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa 3886, South Africa
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Division of Nature, Forest and Landscape, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Piotr Matczak
Water 2021, 13(24), 3490; https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243490
Received: 22 September 2021 / Revised: 22 November 2021 / Accepted: 30 November 2021 / Published: 7 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Water Resources Management, Policy and Governance)
Climate change has increased the frequency of extreme weather events such as heavy rainfall leading to floods in several regions. In Africa, rural communities are more vulnerable to flooding, particularly those that dwell in low altitude areas or near rivers and those regions affected by tropical storms. This study examined flood vulnerability in three rural villages in South Africa’s northern Limpopo Province and how communities are building resilience and coping with the hazard. These villages lie at the foot of the north-eastern escarpment, and are often exposed to frequent rainfall enhanced by orographic factors. Although extreme rainfall events are rare in the study area, we analyzed daily rainfall and showed how heavy rainfall of short duration can lead to flooding using case studies. Historical floods were also mapped using remote sensing via the topographical approach and two types of flooding were identified, i.e., those due to extreme rainfall and those due to poor drainage or blocked drainage channels. A field survey was also conducted using questionnaires administered to samples of affected households to identify flood vulnerability indicators and adaptation strategies. Key informant interviews were held with disaster management authorities to provide additional information on flood indicators. Subsequently, a flood vulnerability index was computed to measure the extent of flood vulnerability of the selected communities and it was found that all three villages have a ‘vulnerability to floods’ level, considered a medium level vulnerability. The study also details temporary and long-term adaptation strategies/actions employed by respondents and interventions by local authorities to mitigate the impacts of flooding. Adaptation strategies range from digging furrows to divert water and temporary relocations, to constructing a raised patio around the house. Key recommendations include the need for public awareness; implementation of a raft of improvements and a sustainable infrastructure maintenance regime; integration of modern mitigations with local indigenous knowledge; and development of programs to ensure resilience through incorporation of Integrated Development Planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: flood risk; exposure; susceptibility; resilience; flood vulnerability index; adaptation flood risk; exposure; susceptibility; resilience; flood vulnerability index; adaptation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Munyai, R.B.; Chikoore, H.; Musyoki, A.; Chakwizira, J.; Muofhe, T.P.; Xulu, N.G.; Manyanya, T.C. Vulnerability and Adaptation to Flood Hazards in Rural Settlements of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Water 2021, 13, 3490. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243490

AMA Style

Munyai RB, Chikoore H, Musyoki A, Chakwizira J, Muofhe TP, Xulu NG, Manyanya TC. Vulnerability and Adaptation to Flood Hazards in Rural Settlements of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Water. 2021; 13(24):3490. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243490

Chicago/Turabian Style

Munyai, Rendani B., Hector Chikoore, Agnes Musyoki, James Chakwizira, Tshimbiluni P. Muofhe, Nkosinathi G. Xulu, and Tshilidzi C. Manyanya. 2021. "Vulnerability and Adaptation to Flood Hazards in Rural Settlements of Limpopo Province, South Africa" Water 13, no. 24: 3490. https://doi.org/10.3390/w13243490

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