New transformative river management programme aids climate adaptation

A four-year partnership between C40 Finance Facility (CFF) and the eThekwini Municipality has yielded positive results with the development of the Transformative River Management Programme (TRMP) that will mitigate the impact of climate change as witnessed during the April floods.

The TRMP, which was handed over to the municipality on Thursday, is an adaptation programme that builds on a range of river management projects in eThekwini, including the Sihlanzimvelo Community Stream Cleaning Programme.

The TRMP aims to transform more than 7000 kilometres of the city’s rivers and streams over a period of 10 years, as part of building a climate resilient and safe city. The programme has a potential to employ thousands more people as part of the green economy.

According to the municipality, the intention is to expand the programme and others to a broad range of river conditions, ecological infrastructures, land ownership and land use conditions to anchor the green economy, develop the social and economic capital of the city and build partnerships.

The 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.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, eThekwini Municipality Mayor, Mxolisi Kaunda, said adaptation is critical, especially for cities like Durban who are already vulnerable to climate change impacts.

Kaunda said the city recognises the importance of the natural environment in helping cities to adapt.

To this end, the city has invested significantly in protecting, managing, and restoring important ecosystems through the community ecosystem-based adaptation approach.

“As a result of this approach, vulnerable and poor communities are given access to work opportunities to manage and maintain our ecosystems, providing both an income and ecosystem protection from climate impacts.

“Well managed ecosystems provide over R4 billion worth of services to our city and its residents annually. These waterways are not only responsible for providing water, but they also help regulate the impact of heavy rains and floods if well managed. Putting necessary resources in rivers and catchments must be central to the City’s climate adaptation response,” Kaunda said.

KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Ravi Pillay, said the success of the TRMP brings back the climate change agenda to the front burner.

“This is not just something for climate activists but having come through the floods, it should be top of mind for everyone. It is the ideal time to entrench what we need to do to mitigate and change the course of development,” Pillay said.

Source: South African Government News Agency

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