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13 March 2024 Media Release: Southern Cape Water Resources in the Spotlight

Media Release: Southern Cape water resources in the spotlight

For immediate release
13 March 2024

“The Southern Cape’s present and future water resources will be in the spotlight as stakeholders meet in George today (13 March 2024) to look at Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSAs). These identified areas  are crucial for their importance in providing water resources to downstream regions of which the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma mountains form part of,” says Cobus Meiring of the Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF).

The event is sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF SA) in collaboration with the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP), and spearheaded by the Garden Route Biosphere Reserve (GRBR).

  1. SWSAs are areas of high biodiversity, high water yield, and high levels of ecosystem services. Protecting these areas is essential for ensuring water security for both human and ecological needs. The Garden Route is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and contains important water catchment areas for several rivers.

The workshop is aimed to inform policy makers, water resource managers, and conservation practitioners in order to be able to make informed decisions to safeguard the integrity of Strategic Water Source Areas in the Southern Cape and ensure the sustainable management of water resources for future generations.

The Garden Route is growing at a rate of just above four percent per annum, which is significant given the fact that the region is relatively resource- poor, including the availability of water in dry areas such as the Klein Karoo. As pressure mounts on available water sources due to development and demands posed by an increasing population, agriculture, forestry and industry alike there are several other impacts to consider, including climate change, drought, changes in rainfall patterns and a marked increase in extreme weather events leading to flooding and damage caused to both natural infrastructure such as rivers and streams and damage to man-made infrastructure such as property, roads and bridges and putting communities in harm’s way.

Over the years, a number of studies have been done focusing on understanding the water balance, hydrological processes, and water availability in SWSAs. This research will assist decision makers in managing water resources sustainably and predicting the impacts of climate change on water availability, identifying land management practices that minimize negative impacts on water quality and quantity and finding ways to mitigate their impact to be able to adapt in accordance.

Feature Image: The Garden Route is a home to one of only a few of South Africa’s Strategic Water Source Areas (SWSAs) – Photo: George Herald.

Issued: The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF)


The Garden Route Environmental Forum (GREF) is a public platform for entities involved in environmental management and conservation.(