As a semi-arid developing country (MAR 450mm), South Africa faces significant water scarcity challenges with increasingly variable rainfall, frequent drought & floods, and growing water demand. In the Western Cape of South Africa, Berg-Breede river catchments supply strategic water sources to surrounding towns and agriculture, but supplies are dwindling and water quality is deteriorating. Several projects focusing on NBS/ecological infrastructure [as opposed to built infrastructure, which has reached limitations] are underway, and include a focus on alien tree clearing, riparian restoration and wetland reconstruction.
In South Africa, two sites facing significant peri-urban growth within these catchments will be assessed to determine strategies in place to address water availability and quality risks, through protection and restoration of ecological infrastructure, management of invasive alien trees, and how these might integrate with /or even replace hard engineering solutions.
Two study sites in South Africa are: Dwarsriver and Langrug.
Dwarsriver: The “Wildlands Dwars River" project is an NBS that aims to increase water quantity & reduce pollution impacts to service in the adjacent communities and farm landowners by clearing invasive alien trees and re-planting riparian zones.
Langrug: The "Genius of Space" Langrug Community Project is a NBS that aims to reduce pollution impacts to surface water in the informal peri-urban area of Langrug.
The objectives are to: (1) perform a scenario analysis on these 2-3 sites within the catchments to identify the main challenges for implementation of NBS in the peri-urban, & (2) study and describe the overall socio-economic-policy and governance context that would favour implementation of NBS.
Alien tree clearance at a Dwarsrivier site (Photo: Lydia Van Rooyen)