Living Catchments in the K2C

The K2C Biosphere covers several important river catchments/watershed. These catchments form part of the greater Olifants and Inkomati-Usuthu Water Management Areas and include the Blyde, Klaserie, Selati, Letaba, Sabie and Sand Catchments. The upper reaches of these catchments receive very high rainfall ranging from 1000-2000 mm per year. As a result, the upper sections of these catchments make up the majority of two major Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSA) for both surface and groundwater.

Critical to these SWSAs are extensive grassland, forest, and wetland systems, drained by numerous streams and rivers. This collective set of high-altitude Ecological Infrastructure (EI) connects to the major rivers, in the semi-arid Lowveld. These upper catchments and associated ecological and built infrastructure are critical for downstream water security on which multiple towns, large rural communities, agricultural and tourism hubs and their associated economies are fully dependent. Further downstream, these rivers are important contributors of water flow (especially in winter) to the Kruger National Park and many adjacent private nature reserves. The Blyde Catchment in particular plays a critical role by increasing water quality and quantity in the lower Olifants system.


catchment is an area where water is collected by the natural landscape.

Lega la meetsi – sePedi

Opvanggebied – Afrikaans

Strategic Water Source Areas

Strategic water source areas are those areas that supply a disproportionate amount of mean annual runoff to a geographical region of interest. In South Africa only 8% of the land area produces the runoff (water that drains from the surface of an area of land into the river systems) that generates 50% of the volume of water in our river systems.

Ecological Infrastructure

Ecological Infrastructure refers to naturally functioning ecosystems that deliver valuable services to people, such as water and climate regulation, soil formation and disaster risk reduction.

It’s about partnerships

The Living Catchment initiative offers the potential to expand current catchment partnership initiatives. Some of the identified gaps in the landscape include broadening of existing partnerships to involved downstream stakeholder such as the conservation sector, water boards, traditional authorities, municipalities, and civil society organizations.  Furthermore, the initiative aims to strengthen collaboration, through supporting existing platforms and ultimately strengthen water governance, research priorities, planning and implementation of initiatives, this including  social learning at a catchment and inter-catchment level.

Various organisations within the landscape are implementing projects to protect and secure ecological infrastructure to improve water security in the region.

This interactive map indicates where catchment partners are working.

Catchment Partners


Various reports from Award 




Various posters and flyers from AWARD

Restoration of Catchments

Restoration activities in catchments are important to repair damaged or changed habitats to their natural condition.

Biodiversity in Catchments

An amazing range of plants, animals and other organisms depend on healthy river systems and catchments. Including us humans.

Waste Management in Catchments

Responsible waste disposal in catchments is key to ensure that our river systems do not become polluted and unsafe.

Catchment work is co-funded by