Living Catchments in the K2C
The K2C Biosphere covers several important river catchments/watershed including 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.
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.
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.
A catchment is an area where water is collected by the natural landscape
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.
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.