The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality (eThekwini Municipality) governs the greater Durban area, a coastal city containing 18 major river systems. Over the past 30 years, deteriorating river water quality and more frequent flooding have caused escalating costs to the city, businesses and citizens. To address these issues, eThekwini Municipality has several projects such as the Sihlanzimvelo programme, the Aller River project and the Green Corridors Programmeis. The municipality is currently designing a Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP) which aims to cover the whole 7400 kilometers of rivers and streams in the municipality's territory.
To address the problems of water quality and flooding at the provincial level, in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, the CFF has been organising inter-municipality knowledge exchanges between eThekwini Municipality and neighbouring local governments. These exchanges are an effort to improve the joint understanding of how to care for and restore riverine systems to protect vulnerable communities against floods and prevent damage to infrastructure across municipalities in KwaZulu Natal.
Length of rivers and streams in Durban
The exchanges have been an opportunity for eThekwini Municipality and the CFF to share lessons learned on how to establish transformative riverine management projects. The experience from Durban has focused on its current projects such as the Sihlanzimvelo programme, the Aller River project and the Green Corridors Programme.
The workshops are designed to foster an exchange of knowledge between South African municipalities working on water and economic development, as many are working in parallel on similar projects. The main outcome of these exchanges is knowledge sharing on transformative riverine management programmes with Durban to fast track climate resilience building in the KwaZulu Natal province. Having gone through the workshops, the host municipality will finish the program with a fully fleshed out Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP) concept note.
So far the workshops have taken place with the municipalities UMhlathuze, Kwadukuza, and eNdumeni. Each session has had an average of 20 participants each, including senior leaders from various line departments, acting municipal managers, and even the mayor. These cities will return for a final session in a few months after working on their TRMP concept note. The concept note will include elements of design process, project activities, governance structure, institutionalization, budgeting, community engagement, livelihoods support, benefits, and rationale.
The sessions cover topics such as:
- The host municipality’s socio-economic context
- Climate change impacts experienced & projected climate change
- Climate change response to date
- Turning theory into practice and finding a potential site for implementing a TRMP-like project
- Presentation of climate change impacts experienced to date in eThekwini & projected climate change and associated impacts
- The impacts of floods
- Presentation of eThekwini’s TRMPs – with a focus on the design, implementation, engagements with affected communities, financing, M&E
- Facilitated discussion/Q&A between host municipality and eThekwini
This post is the first in a three-part series highlighting the knowledge exchange workshops in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province. The second post will provide a reflection on the exchange and common issues faced by municipalities. The final post will highlight the outcomes of the exchange - the concept note development process and the catalytic role that the CFF is playing.