The uMhlathuze Water Stewardship Partnership (UWASP) convenes key government, private sector and civil society stakeholders to actively collaborate on water security solutions for the uMhlathuze catchment in KwaZulu-Natal. Two people are employed full time (by the NBI and WWF-SA respectively), with further support and funding provided by GIZ’s International Water Stewardship Programme and additional funding provided by Mondi and Tongaat Hulett. To date, UWASP has undertaken extensive stakeholder engagement with private and public partners to ensure that all can actively participate in the overall partnership and in specific projects of interest. A detailed partnership work plan and governance structure has been approved and implementation of 5 priority projects commenced in December 2017. The 5 priority projects address downstream water use efficiency opportunities; agricultural water stewardship practices; ecological infrastructure requirements (alien invasive plant clearing and wetlands); the development of local community environmental champions for pollution control; and enhanced management of the region’s coastal lakes and surface water dam.
Progress on some priority projects is detailed below.
1. In February 2018 a study tour to the Inkomati Usuthu Catchment Management Agency in Mpumalanga brought together the Department of Water and Sanitation and sugar industry representatives to explore the lessons learned in the IUCMA’s water monitoring and metering systems. The implementation of a catchment management system and institutional support in the uMhlathuze catchment will benefit DWS’ long-term management of the catchment and of Goedertrouw dam, including more effective water use management by the agricultural sector and downstream industry.
2. Scoping work to understand the interrelated waste and water challenges, interests and job-creation opportunities for communities in informal areas around the coastal lakes of Mzingazi and Cubhu has commenced. These lakes supply water for domestic and industry users in the Richards Bay area. UWASP is in the process of formalising cooperation with the City of uMhlathuze Municipality in order to work together on this community based project and other interventions.
Please contact Michelle Hiestermann to obtain further details on UWASP.