Kat River Valley

A stakeholder driven process to develop a catchment management plan for the Kat River Valley

Sponsor: Water Research Commission

Leaders: Ms SA Birkholz

Staff: Prof DA Hughes, Prof K Rowntree

Duration: April 2004 - March 2008


This project has been progressing for the last four or so years, and is now in it final stages. Although, initially set to terminate in July 2007, the project was extended to allow for the submission and completion of final deliverables and reports. So far all deliverables have been completed and submitted for this project and the final reports are in the process of being put together by the various contributors. In total this project has generated 50 odd deliverables reporting on subjects ranging from: social participation in water allocation negotiations; to legality of water use; to: socio-economic aspect of water use and allocation; to the ecological Reserve determination for the Kat River; to the minister of Water Affairs and Forestry's visit to the catchment in 2005; to the description of short- term monitoring outcomes and the development of long-term plans for monitoring the Kat River. This has been an exciting and valuable application of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) at grass-roots level, and has helped reveal essential difficulties related to including partnership development and its importance to IWRM and local resource management institutions (such as Water User Associations); communication between multi-cultural stakeholders; the importance of proper facilitation of capacity development initiatives; awareness of water related issues amongst all stakeholders of a catchment and the associated education needs; the need for integration of government departments; the complexities of working with both natural and social scientists and the importance of communication between them.

The project left the Kat River Water User Association (KRWUA) in March 2007, after the final discussion and workshops around the generation of water allocation scenarios and the initiation of negotiation around them. This process was fascinating to watch, as social dynamics between different user sectors, different cultures, and different regions of the catchment generated issues and power struggles that each stakeholder had to negotiate around and respect. The KRWUA is still in the process of drawing up a business management plan for the essential management of the Association, and the project team is in the process of putting together as much of the CMP as can be generated at this stage.

Catchment management and IWRM is a continuous process and the journey towards negotiated water allocations and the application and issuing of licenses for the KRWUA still has a long way to go. However, the stakeholders continue to persevere and are actively working towards achieving sustainable water allocation of the various water user sectors in the catchment.

Last Modified: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 10:16:41 SAST