Photo by Ardiss Hutaff on Unsplash
Rain has been falling across the country this month (there is nothing better than falling asleep to this sound!) The heart responds with gratitude but also with concern when remembering places in South Africa where it hasn’t rained for more than four years.
WWF SA has a slogan “Water doesn’t come from a tap”, which should be made visible in every home and classroom. Social awareness of the importance of water has been growing, but it stills happens that water flows in a street in town, usually from a leak, or infuriatingly from an unattended sprinkler.
We had the pleasure of being introduced to the Wise Wayz Water Care (WWWC) project near Durban in 2019. The project holds pointers for how to get the community involved in looking after water and the environment: people from the Folweni and Ezimbokodweni communities keep a 30 km stretch of the eZimbokodweni River catchment area clear.
It began in 2015 with 130 volunteers, and support grew from the whole community. And then it went beyond this to AECI and other businesses, tribal authority, municipal and provincial government getting behind the project. The support has included skills development, career path opportunities in the Green Economy and economic activity.
The community keeps its eyes on the river with invasive alien plant identification and control, routine river health monitoring, community education, and affordable plumbing for/by the community. Agricultural and craft co-operatives have been founded along with community food gardens.
A prime achievement is a restored wetland. Before and after photos show the movement from a waist-high jungle to a clear stream of water with ordered, tidy banks on the side. Apart from economic spinoffs, the vastly improved environment and the concomitant sense of pride in it are good news for people concerned about our water and environment.