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The Stellenbosch River Collaborative (SRC) recently celebrated two years of a successful partnership to improve the water quality of the rivers that run through this beautiful Winelands town.
The collaborative is an example of local collective action in the face of a global water crisis and has initiated several projects to help the town deal with drought and climate change. Members of the partnership are Distell, Spier, the Water Institute at Stellenbosch University, the Stellenbosch municipality and WWF South Africa (with funding support from the WWF Nedbank Green Trust).
Actions initiated by the SRC include the following:
- Local community members in Enkanini who have become “Water Hustlers” and report leaks in record time to the municipality.
- A prototype Green Water Filter that treats polluted storm water coming from the informal settlements.
- The clearing of alien vegetation and river clean-ups by local school
Christine Colvin, head of WWF-SA’s freshwater programme, said: “The story of the Stellenbosch River Collaborative is the story of a town coming together to look after the rivers that they love and that are vital for the future of the town and the Winelands.”
Speakers at the ‘green tie’ even, held on 6 December 2016 to celebrate the two-year milestone, included Professor Eugene Cloete (VC research, innovation and post-graduate studies at the US), Professor Gideon Wolfaardt (director of the Water Institute at the US) and Christine Colvin (senior manager of the freshwater programme at WWF-SA).
The speakers highlighted how innovation will be critical in meeting the challenges of climate change but that this will have to go beyond traditional technological approaches and include social innovation.
The event also showcased works by photographers Tony Maake, Gabriele Neugebauer and Scott Ramsay reflecting different aspects of the water story from harsh township realities through to engineering infrastructure and pristine landscapes.