Catchment connectivity – a society-water-space trialectic

Catherine Sutherland

Publication Date:

Understanding the connectivies between the social, economic, biophysical, and political dimensions of the uMngeni Catchment across different landscapes is critical for building improved water governance and water security. Lefebvre’s (1991) concept of a trialectic is employed to map out the multiple relations in the hydro-social cycle of the uMngeni Catchment. The paper explores how ecological infrastructure can be used as a ‘lever of change’ within this set of relations of the water-society-space trialectic to improve water security. Research was conducted in four case studies, all pilot projects of the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership. In the Upper Catchment critical issues are the pollution of Midmar Dam due to poor service provision and agricultural run-off. Baynespruit, in the Middle Catchment, is impacted on by discharge of industrial effluent, illegal dumping and poor stormwater management. Here constructed wetlands and the rehabilitation of riparian zones are being employed as ‘experiments’ to assess the value of EI in mitigating pollution. The Palmiet Catchment is located in the urban core of Durban. It is exposed to high levels of pollution due to a range of land uses which impact on the river, including industrial pollution, poor maintenance of sewerage systems, and poor service provision in informal settlements. Mzinyathi River is located in the Qadi Traditional Authority, an area undergoing rapid densification. This densification takes place outside of formal planning processes and is having significant impacts on the catchment. These case studies are used to assemble the water-society-space trialectic to show connectivity.  

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Society for Ecological Restoration