Public participation in water resource management is crucial for community development and resource sustainability. Many studies on water resource management have been done on urban river systems, focusing on water quality, and concentrating mainly on the physical, chemical and biological parameters, while neglecting the social impacts. An example of this is seen in the Kaalspruit, a highly polluted river in the township of Tembisa. After the confluence with the Olifantspruit River, the Kaalspruit runs through the residential and highly industrialised areas of Clayville, Tembisa and Ivory Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. The aim of the study is to evaluate public perception, participation and attitudes towards water resource management in the Kaalspruit River, and to aid with a related community management plan. This was achieved by purposive and random sampling of relevant stakeholders and the public. Community knowledge was used to increase water quality awareness. The study revealed that those surveyed are discontented with the river's current state but are interested in rehabilitating it. Their participation highlighted the need for a community-based management plan for the river.