Securing the Southern Drakensburg Watershed

Background

The WWF Green Trust aims at achieving several goals in the uMzimvubu Catchment through various programmes. The first being to secure the uMzimvubu water factory, and sustain and expand the Communal Rangeland Stewardship model for at least 5 different communal areas, 3 located in Matatiele, 1 in Elundi,and 1 in Lesotho.

The above aim shall be tackled through various activities such as Auction1auctions Auction2 , which support over 200 households with a 30% income increase, as a stewardship compliance incentive and reward. WWF also aims at building the capacity for improved landscape management at local catchment and regional level to enhance local governance structures' institutional funtioning in relation to water security decisions and action competency.

The approach responds to root causes identified together with participant communities, reviving some of the well-known and tested traditional practices, and integrating them into acceptable conservation practices for building resilient and practical production methods that allow for informed and independent community decision making and interaction with conservationists at an advisory level. The communal stewardship model is based on transactions between equals: land users derive returns from their better-managed resources, while conservation authorities and downstream stakeholders secure more resilient and productive ecological infrastructure .

At least 6 awareness events linked with the national environmental calendar involving schools, leadership and wider community in the target zone, over 500 school children, teachers, officials, leaders and local citizens participate in at least 6 awareness events supported by the local government. This project also aims to sustain and foster effective functioning of the local UCPP alliance and lead to a well sustained and active network of catchment roleplayers.

The project will add value to broader national initiatives through demonstrating and providing policy influence and active exchange learning for improved land restoration and maintenance practices. Alien vegetation management as a strategy to improve water yields, and for restoration of degraded land , has been on-going for years within a national WWF initiative, without commitments at local levels to make sure that the cleared areas remain free of invasions post the EPWP investment phase, and over the longer term. The proposed approach aims to accrue tangible measurable benefits for the target communities and the environment, optimising on restoration investments through uptake of community-based stewardship, such as improved rangeland productivity and restoration of degraded areas to generate income for rural households through improved grazing returns.