The mountain catchments surrounding the City of Cape Town are important water source areas for the Western Cape province. The Boland and Groot Winterhoek mountains are the watersheds for three major rivers namely; the Berg, Breede and Olifants rivers. These river catchments are the main source of domestic water supply for the city of Cape Town, and is important for agricultural, industrial and environmental purposes. Threats to the catchments include invasive alien vegetation, river bank erosion and pollution by industry and residents.
We have been very active on this landscape since 2013, engaging with local communities, farmers, schools, businesses as well as local and national government to define and implement innovative projects toward restoring the ecological functioning and resilience of the catchments. We have a strong partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) through the Berg River Improvement Project (BRIP) as well as the Department of Agriculture’s LandCare programme.
Our recent project with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has enabled us to expand to the Breede river catchment. We aim to continue working in this landscape, collaborating with others with a focus to coordinate a knowledge and implementation base for ecological rehabilitation and sustainable farming practices, and support water stewardship programmes.