Training in rural erosion

2008-04-22 00:00

Tomorrow, Rand Water celebrates its land management partnership with communities in the Amangwane tribal authority — an area that is unique, in that it is one of the few so-called "high Berg" areas that are highly populated.

Rand Water spokesman Gregg Mulzack said the Amangwane area is a crucial source of water to the country. The Tugela-Vaal scheme provides water to Gauteng through a series of dams, canals and pipelines.

Rand Water’s general manager for corporate social responsibility, Maggie Letsoalo, said when livestock are allowed to graze on too much of the vegetation, the water does not infiltrate the ground properly when it rains.

"This leads to increased water runoff and soil erosion. Already huge dongas have formed in the area."

As a result, communities lose land that could be used for food production and loads of silt land up in the rivers of the catchment and get washed into dams that make up the Tugela-Vaal water transfer scheme, such as the Woodstock and Sterkfontein dams.

To restore some of the degraded sites, Rand Water has trained people from Amangwane in the implementation of a number of different erosion control techniques including the mappin and recording of dongas, construction of gabions and the planting of indigenous grass species.

In recent times, more than 40 gabion projects have been constructed, and hundreds of square metres of the indigenous vetifer grass have been planted to replace lost vegetation.

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