Many households still do not have access to potable water and although the quality of surface water is generally good, it is not so in towns where sewerage treatment works are poorly maintained. There has been also a large increase in the backlog of basic sanitation provision. Electricity is installed in 76% of homes for lighting, but only about one-third of households use it for cooking and heating, with paraffin and wood still in use in many homes. Waste management is also the responsibility of the district municipality but Xhariep does not have capacity to perform this function effectively. About 30% of households do not have refuse removed by their local authority at least once a week.
Just over the half of Xhariep's population is under the age of 29, which raises many planning questions given the high rate of illiteracy and the lack of employment opportunities. The immediate concerns are high drop-out ratesat school, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancies, delinquencies and a rise in HIV infection rates.