Project Overview

SANBI is leading the implementation of the Living Catchments project in partnership with the Water Research Commission through funding from the Department of Science and Innovation. The project was developed in response to the Water Research, Development and Innovation Roadmap (Water RDI Roadmap) which is a national planning intervention aimed at addressing water scarcity in South Africa over a 10-year period between 2015 and 2025. The Water RDI Roadmap as highlighted above is a high-level planning intervention by the WRC, DSI, and the Department of Water Affairs (DWS) and the project responds specifically to address the RDI Roadmap’s Supply Cluster 3: Improve adequacy and performance of supply infrastructure.

The primary aim of the Living Catchments Project is thus to create a more resilient, more resourced, and more relational communities at both catchment and national scales, that are able to draw from the best that the research has to offer in the process of governing the equitable, productive and sustainable use of water resources and ecosystem goods and services. The project intends to create a more resilient, more resourced, and more relational communities with the ultimate vision to strengthening of an enabling environment for catchment governance and the integration of build and ecological infrastructure in support of water security, economic development and livelihood improvement. This is a collaborative project with the intention to strengthen the enabling environment for water governance at the nexus of landscapes and water supply in South Africa. The project is centred on co-learning and co-creation through communities of practice in order to enable collaboration, grow the practice of transformative social learning and strengthening the practice of policy engagement and the ways in which biodiversity is mainstreamed into the water sector. This is important to improve the enabling environment in which the Water RDI RoadMap can be implemented. The aim of the project is to contribute to a healthy functioning of ecological infrastructure to complement built infrastructure, development of knowledge, promote collaborative learning and policy advice to support water security, economic development and the improvement of livelihoods within uMzimvubu catchment; uThukela catchment; Berg-Breede catchment and Olifants catchment.

What we do:

What are we currently working on?

  • Supporting 4 catchment conveners in all four catchments for the establishment, convening and maintenance of Communities of Practise
  • Supporting 7 postgraduate students (2 PhD and 5 MSc) who is contributing towards the development of capacity throughout the project.
  • Living catchments Newsletter – to be published quarterly – launch issue aimed for September 2021
  • Continuous virtual engagement for action research priorities informed by practitioners and policy makers.
  • Documenting best practice; Policy briefs informed by science and practice; evaluation and learning.
  • Assessment of existing and available relevant capacity development tool (including citizen science tool)

What have we achieved?

  • Development of scope of work for the existing catchment platforms and development terms of   reference   for   the appointment of catchment-conveners.
  • The appointment of four Catchment Conveners to facilitate co-learning, enable collaboration and co-creation at the nexus of built of ecological infrastructure. These are – Environmental & Rural Solution (ERS) for uMzimvubu; Living Lands (LL) for Berg-Breede; Kruger to Canyons (K2C) for Olifants and the Institute for Natural Resources (INR) for uThukela catchments.
  • The inception workshop was convened virtually on Ms Teams on the 16 February 2021, with up to 22 participants from the catchments as well as SANBI LCP team members.
  • Colleagues completed a free writing exercise around their mainstreaming facilitation practice. This will be used as a basis for initiating the ‘status of knowledge’ report.
  • Our first catchment-based indaba was convened in collaboration with various partners at the uMzimvubu catchment in Matatiele from 21-23 October 2019 under the theme: ‘Amanzi aphuma apha’ (Water comes from here).
  • Convened and facilitated the 2nd National Ecological Infrastructure Indaba on 3-5 March 2021;

What we have planned:

  • Establishing and supporting communities of practice comprising of traditional leaders, civil society, rural communities, policy makers, researchers, and practitioners.
  • Development of a plan to deal with the emergence at catchment level, government priorities on COVID-19 relief measures.

Who are we:

The Living Catchment Project Team is based at the Pretoria and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.

  • Director: Biodiversity Mainstreaming : Mr Mahlodi Tau
  • Deputy Director: Biodiversity Mainstreaming: Dan’sile Cindi
  • Social Learning Practitioner : Tanya Layne
  • Policy Advisor: Alex Marsh
  • Assistant Director: Biodiversity Mainstreaming: Namhla Mbona
  • Provisional Admin Officer: Uyanda Zembe
  • Administrator: Mathlodi Mphaka
  • Research Assistant: Siqamo Yeko
  • Postgraduate students:  Anele Kholiwe Ntshangase; Silindile Mtshali (PhD); Erin Ueckermann; Sphindile Dlamini; Mzukisi Kuse (PhD); Kwanele Siyengo and Philisa Dunyana
  • Groen Sebenza Interns: Zoleka Mkhize and Puseletso Nkadimeng
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