South Africa Durban

eThekwini Municipality (Durban) Transformative Riverine Management Programme

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eThekwini Map

eThekwini (Durban)

Leader Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda

The eThekwini Municipality (also known as the City of Durban) supported by the C40 City Finance Facility (CFF) is developing a business case for a Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP). The TRMP aims to adapt the 7 400 km of streams and rivers in the city to the flooding, drought and higher temperatures that can be expected from climate change.  The TRMP is nested in the Durban Climate Change Strategy and its Climate Action Plan as a C40 city. It builds on the city's considerable experience with ecosystem-based adaptation and its commitment to increase the resilience of eThekwini Municipality's most vulnerable communities.

The eThekwini Municipality (also known as the City of Durban) supported by the C40 City Finance Facility (CFF) is developing a business case for a Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP). The TRMP aims to adapt the 7 400 km of streams and rivers in the city to the flooding, drought and higher temperatures that can be expected from climate change.  The TRMP is nested in the Durban Climate Change Strategy and its Climate Action Plan as a C40 city. It builds on the city's considerable experience with ecosystem-based adaptation and its commitment to increase the resilience of eThekwini Municipality's most vulnerable communities.

  • Population 3.8 million (2015)
  • Estimated Project Costs USD $1 billion over 10 years
  • Total Reported GHG Emissions 28.2 MT CO2e per year

THE PROJECT VISION

 To build a compelling Business Case (based on Cost Benefit Analysis) for transforming some 7 400 km riverine corridors:

  • to be resilient to climate change
  • to be valuable places which are clean, safe, healthy, useful and pleasant open spaces
  • to close the loops with recycling
  • to create jobs and build the green economy
  • to build communities
  • to work in partnership with all affected stakeholders
  • to impact positively on the City as a whole.

The TRMP builds on a range of transformative river management projects in Durban and Kwa Zulu Natal, notably including the 7-year-old Sihlanzimvelo stream cleaning programme. This programme involves utilising community co-operatives for stream management and in so doing builds enterprises and creates jobs: a good example of what is called the “Green New Deal” or transformative adaptation. This model will be expanded to a broad range of river conditions, ecological infrastructures, land ownership and land use conditions to anchor the green economy and develop the social and economic capital of the city.  This will provide a scalable and replicable model for how cities across the world can manage and maintain their waterways while maximising socio-economic benefits.

The Business Case will use cost benefit analysis to persuade a range of funders including the municipality itself, businesses and property owners in Durban and global climate funders to make the investments required.  It will be grounded in GIS based vulnerability assessment linked to an advanced hydrological model and the best available climate circulation models.

As part of the CFF’s commitment to optimising the impact of its support for eThekwini it will implement a knowledge-sharing exchange with the several municipalities that are part of the Central KZN Climate Change Compact, as well as the wider global community of climate stakeholders.

Durban

Geoff Tooley from eThekwini’s Coastal Stormwater and Catchment Management Department had this to say about the impact of the CFF’s work in Durban: 

We are extremely grateful and excited in anticipation of the completion of the cost-benefit analysis.It  is important however to acknowledge the other benefits we have received through this partnership with C40 CFF since August 2018.

Firstly, in having an international partnership with the C40 CFF, the Sihlamzimvelo program has been exposed not only internationally but also internally to the decision makers. This has translated into the support from senior management to increase the budget for the program which will mean that the impact on the ground by the program, will grow next year from 300 km to approximately 1000 km. This is before the completion of the cost-benefit analysis but with the knowledge that has been collected and exposed in the interim.

Secondly, we as employees of the Municipality, have been exposed to different thought processes and ideas which have allowed us to not only grow as individuals but as a collective in being able to conceptualize the bigger picture in a way we would have not been able to achieve with our old narrow silo focused thinking. This includes different funding opportunities and processes.

Thirdly, the addition of the Senior Project Advisor resource embedded in our Municipality has facilitated the efficient teasing out and capturing of the knowledge and learnings that existing in different corners of our municipality which has helped us all to see the bigger picture and to develop an effective resource for the expansion of similar programs around South Africa, Southern Africa and the rest of the world. There is not normally time or capacity to capture this knowledge effectively and at this time in our world where the paradigm is definitely going to shift, this knowledge shared can make a massive transformative difference in our futures.

Ultimately the TRMP will develop the social and economic capital of the city and change the way the city looks at rivers and streams, by treating water a socio-economic asset. By providing for ecosystem-related job and asset creation for local communities, it will change community lives, urban spaces, and reconnect people and communities with water.

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The Sihlanzimvelo programme will provide a scalable and replicable model for how cities across the world can manage and maintain their waterways while maximising socio-economic benefits.

eThekwini Municipality (Durban) Transformative Riverine Management Programme

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