uMngeni: wetland gets global listing

2013-04-19 00:00

THE uMngeni Vlei Nature Reserve has been designated South Africa’s 21st Ramsar site.

The decision, by the government, was welcomed yesterday by the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa.

EWT spokesperson Nomonde Mxhalisa said the reserve had been added to the Ramsar list of wetlands of international importance because of its significant bio­diversity and ecosystem. It was also the site of the headwaters of the uMngeni River, she added.

Tanya Smith, of EWT’s African Crane conservation programme, said the upper uMngeni catchment, which includes the reserve, was a priority catchment for Wattled Crane and wetland conservation.

Christine Colvin, senior manager of World Wide Fund SA’s freshwater programmes, said more than 4,5 million people lived in the uMngeni catchment, which generated an estimated 10% of the SA’s GDP. “Its ability to continue to supply water to an ever growing population will become increasingly difficult …” she said.

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