UMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership
The eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) Unit’s ability to deliver the volume and quality of fresh water required within Durban and to provide sanitation services is becoming increasingly compromised by catchment conditions and dynamics external to the Municipal boundary, specifically in the uMngeni, upper Mooi and Mkomazi catchments.
Additionally, it has been recognised that the current version of the KZN Water Reconciliation Strategy has not included the valuable contribution that investments into the rehabilitation and management of natural infrastructure can make to enhance water security. The concept of investing in ecological infrastructure represents a new way of looking at development projects, which in the past focused on built infrastructure without considering the role of ecological infrastructure. The ecological infrastructure enhances built infrastructure; strategic investment in ecological infrastructure lengthens the lifespan of existing built infrastructure and can reduce or delay the need for additional built infrastructure; thereby reducing the cost of maintenance or of building new structures.
The UEIP coordinating committee are currently overseeing implementation of the Global Environment Facility-funded Biodiversity and Water Security Project. The partnership celebrated its five-year anniversary in November 2018. Durban will host the bi-annual meeting in November this year. For more information on UEIP, visit: UMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership

Palmiet Pilot Project
Palmiet Catchment Rehabilitation Project (PCRP) is an innovative shared-governance approach to catchment-scale ecological infrastructure management with a climate change adaptation focus. The project primarily focuses on conservation, rehabilitation & restoration of natural systems within the Palmiet Catchment to improve community resilience towards climate change. The PCRP emerged as a proof of concept pilot project during the establishment of the uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP).
Palmiet Community of Innovators (COI) members, its comprise of municipal officials, UKZN, Local conservancies, community members.
The project developed a Community of Innovation (CoI) to drive implementation of the project plan in 2016. The CoI meets quarterly to discuss progress in the implementation of the project action plan which was co-developed by project stakeholders. The COI meetings are coordinated by eThekwini Municipality’s Climate Protection Branch (CPB).
Potential benefits of the project:
·  Its promotes community based adaptation, the local communities are part of the decision and project planning
·  Improve the resilience of communities, especially in informal settlements, to climate change impacts
·  Restoration of ecological infrastructure for ecosystem services provisioning (clean water, flood attenuation, etc.)
·  Cleaning of river streams to improve the quality of water
·  Clearing of alien invasive species through community based approaches, thereby creating employment opportunities.
IPCC Working Group 2 visited the Project site in January 2019 and engage with COI members on project deliverables and objectives in relation to climate change adaptation.
The PCRP has been a living lab for testing transdisciplinary research approaches. Through the DRAP partnership, and driven by the School of Built Environment and Development Studies, community members of the Quarry Road West Informal Settlement are engaging with research to better understand vulnerability associated with climate change and adaptation responses thereto. A product of this work is a Climate Smart Booklet for informal settlements which is in production. The booklet was funded by the City of Bremen through Durban’s sister-city partnership with Bremen. The informal settlement and the Palmiet action plan have been the focus of Durban’s EPIC pilot programme. EPIC is an approach to transdisciplinary research that uses students to answer real life questions (in this case challenges in the QRWIS) to support implementation. One of the products of this pilot is contributing to the development of the City’s disaster management response following the tragic flooding of April 22nd 2019.

The PCRP is due to meet the extended group of stakeholders for the project in early March. During this meeting, the draft Palmiet Catchment Rehabilitation Project annual progress report will be presented. It will describe progress made with implementing the action plan, as well as implementation in the IIPSA-project.

For more information about this project contact:
Climate Protection Scientist