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In South Africa there has been a shift towards managing catchments as integrated socio-ecological systems to address water security challenges. Catchments represent an appropriate level of water resource governance and management. This approach intentionally links water security to ecological infrastructure management and society benefits. This relies heavily on stakeholder engagement and participation to understand the society demands and pressures on natural resources. The uMngeni catchment in KwaZulu-Natal of South Africa is typical of many rapidly developing catchments with the growing population and increase in economic development resulting in water security challenges. The catchment covers more than 4250 km² and occupies less than 5% of the surface area of KwaZulu-Natal, even though it supplies water to approximately 42% of the population of the province. Despite the investment in built infrastructure, the catchment is no longer able to provide sufficient water of adequate quality to people. The uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP), a multi-stakeholder partnership, has focussed on understanding the role that ecological infrastructure (EI) can play to supplement built infrastructure. Multi-sectoral stakeholder governance towards effective collaboration and coordination of activities associated with catchment management has become particularly important for this catchment. The partnership is committed to strategic investment in ecological infrastructure to enhance water security in the catchment. The UEIP has a well-developed research component that improves the knowledge base and contributes to various points along the science-society-policy-practice continuum. This paper provides an overview of the uMngeni Catchment, the UEIP and introduces the key research topics.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration