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Inspiring a new generation of water savers, WWF South Africa is working with Ceres Valley communities to take water management and services into their own hands.

In the heart of the magical Ceres Valley in the Western Cape, WWF South Africa is working with local communities to inspire a new generation of water savers.  These committed residents are taking the management of their natural resources and services into their own hands and making a difference. 

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Residents of the Nduli and Prince Alfred Hamlet settlements in the Ceres Valley, aptly crowning themselves the ‘Witzenberg Water Savers’, are no strangers to hard work.

Their decision to take a hands-on approach is their response to the various water management challenges faced in their communities. 

Both settlements are connected to rivers and drainage channels of the already under-pressure Breede River; it feeds local dams used to irrigate stone fruit and other local produce – something that many depend on for their livelihoods. 

Rapid urban growth has impacted water quality. Sewerage from informal settlements affects farmers downstream, and the local municipality is under more stress to supply basic services to keep up with growing demand. 

As this interconnection of water supply and livelihoods is realised, stakeholders - including WWF and Woolworths - are working with community members to address water quality issues, in and around the settlements.

They’ve identified key challenges in the community like: water leaks – inside and outside property boundaries, solid waste dumping, and spilling sewerage systems. 

One of WWF’s aims is to ensure that our country’s natural resources are well looked after, so that they can support social and economic well-being.  For this project, a key approach has been to engage communities in finding solutions.  

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A series of workshops, focused on personal leadership, has encouraged residents to take ownership of what happens in their neighbourhood, as well as various water-related community initiatives.  

Since the project began, this group of volunteers has:

  • Rallied together to clean up the heavily littered Wabooms River in Prince Alfred’s Hamlet; 
  • Established a ’toilet committee’ and recorded co-ordinates of known problematic manholes in the Nduli area,  working extensively to report sewerage spillages and illegal dump sites to the municipality;  
  • Created awareness through door-to-door visits to discuss community challenges relating to water, sanitation and waste.

Long-term investment in these two community-based projects will enable ongoing employment and training of community members. This will put them at the centre of working towards a future with cleaner rivers and wetlands, better managed catchments and providing support to local government. There is still more water saving work to be done, but these initial efforts and successes are proof of what’s possible, when communities go the extra mile to live in harmony with nature.

The continued support from MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has become a vital catalyst for conservation efforts aligned to community efforts to manage water resources. By choosing WWF as a beneficiary you become a part of the WWF mission to secure a prosperous future for people and nature. 

This initiative commenced as a partnership by Woolworths, Marks & Spencers, the Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Breede Catchment Management Agency. 

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