The Mighty uMzimkhulu – A Green Net Adventure.
The Mighty uMzimkhulu – A Green Net Adventure :
Chapter 4: Our position regarding future developments on the uMzimkhulu River.
We believe the uMzimkhulu river was aptly called “the Mighty uMzimkhulu”.
It is one of the last free-flowing rivers in South Africa, with similar ecological value to the Okavango. It is home to many species of fish and other marine animals, as well as birds. It directly supports the sardine run and the Marine Protected Areas of Protea Banks and Aliwal Shoal. It has great historical and cultural value. This adds to its community value and tourism appeal (the boat that recently emerged from the depths of the riverbed is a case in point).
The Green Net has undertaken various activities to help look after our natural water resources. Ranging from beach clean-ups and the removal of plastic waste and AIPs (alien invasive plants) from a section of the Mbango River. The creation of “Stella the Starfish”, a giant bin to enable easy and effective waste collection on beaches. Eco-Brick projects, including the construction of an Eco-Brick bench. (located at the Sea Park Catholic Church, Our Lady of Fatima). And public awareness raising meetings and a petition opposing proposed offshore drilling.
As residents, we are aware of many shortcomings in Ugu’s recent management of our water resources. We are often without water for any of a variety of reasons. This includes leaking pipes, broken valves, saline intrusion and politically motivated sabotage. As a result, raw sewage often ends up in lagoons and rivers, endangering human and marine health. These infrastructural flaws have a significant and negative impact on health levels, the natural environment and tourism, and thus hamper our local economy on many levels.
The river also provides the majority of much-needed water for drinking, sanitation and irrigation for many residents from Hibberdene to Ramsgate. The system is already under strain and the demand for water will inevitably keep growing as our population does.
The Green Net is aware that a number of ill-advised activities have taken place on the uMzimkhulu over the years. Various parties have been responsible for the damage done. We as ratepayers and residents, would like to do whatever we can to ensure that future spending is better informed by engaging with all interested parties. Including the municipality, residents’ associations, conservationists and technical experts, to explore our options going forward.
We would like to see:
- More open, honest, representative and collaborative discussions of this nature.
- Rehabilitative measures by parties who have damaged the river’s banks, bed or flow.
- The most constructive possible use of available finances – investment in socially and environmentally sustainable technology and job programmes; more local institutional and business support for projects to clean rivers and restore natural flows (e.g., Mbango and Ifafa rivers); and avoiding divisive and wasteful lawsuits.
- World-class technological solutions that can provide the most sustainable possible relationship with water to ensure a healthy and prosperous South Coast for future generations.