SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 18th June 2013
at 09:30 at
SanParks, Cape Research Centre.
M Thompson (MT)
CoCT - CSRM (Chairman)
Greg Brill (GB)
Kevin Winter UCT
Brian Ratcliff (BR)
F of Constantia Valley Green Belt
F of Kirstenhof Wetlands
Dennis Davey (DD)
F of Die Oog
F of Kirstenhof Wetlands
CSRM - City
Caitlin van Witt
S Fowkes ZEMF
Malcolm Cupido (MC) Environmental Health - City
James Forsyth F of Constantia Valley Green Belt
Derril Daniels DWAF WC
CoCT - ERM
CoCT - Parks
The following tendered their apologies: Mandy Noffke (to whom best wishes for the birth of her next baby are extended), Liz Brunette, John Fowkes and Malcolm Pearce.
1. WELCOME / APOLOGIES (Attendance Register)
TThe Chairman welcomed all to the meeting (see list above) and handed out copies of the Agenda and handed out previous minutes to those that requested them.
2. APPROVAL OF PREVIOUS MINUTES
The minutes from the previous meeting were scanned and approved without change. Regarding Action Items :
Item 6 – Martin Thompson reminded Talcott to supply the outstanding information – he hopes Talcott remembers.
3. PENINSULA PADDLE REPORT BACK : Dr Kevin Winter.
Kevin began by thanking the SRCF for the inviting him to present on the recent Peninsula Paddle. He has been impressed by the Forum which does so much outside of the meetings. The SCRF focuses on water ways (and) catchments – like the Peninsula Paddle – where all our lives end up! The concept of “paddling across the divide” was the theme of this year’s paddle. There is an actual physical divide in the watershed at Kenilworth/Plumstead – but it also refers to the socio-economic divide in our city. How do we progress and make some inroads towards sustainability from what might appear to be an elitist exercise?
From the first paddle in 2010 – from Muizenberg beach to Milnerton – it became apparent that you can see the health of a city in its waterways. Participants meet a wide range of people along the paddle route and conversations are started. At Princessvlei there is community interaction with many different NGO’s and organisations.
He stated that the picture has changed dramatically since 2010 – many of the waterways were “pongy” in 2010 and in 2011 some were carpeted with aquatic weed – after a visit by the Mayor, it was stated that something would be done! It was. In 2013 the water in the Black River is clear and does not smell largely due to the incredible team of 200 people who are learning new skills in a poverty alleviation programme. More and more people are being brought into the skills training programmes. In 2010, masks were used to raise awareness of safety and health issues – now there are flocks of flamingos – which are on their own a public relations statement for the cleaner water.
Rian Manser was the PP “celebrity” this year and helped to raise awareness around the PP. Louise Stafford and her team also did the paddle. Kevin said that she is a City Manager with some vision! She was able to explore more opportunities for her Kadar Asmal team. We need as much media attention as possible and hope to build a documentary from this last paddle.
In 2013 problems still remain – action needs to happen at the Salt River where there were huge amounts of material deposits, but he admitted that there had been heavy rain just previously. Kevin believes that this behaviour is a failure of society. He said Louise was embarrassed.
Thinking of the concept of paddling through the divide, he wondered how we promote the different areas. The water ways run through a divided city and are part of all our lives. Maybe the idea can be used to connect people and parks and water ways – for example Princessvlei, Sybrand Park, Greenpoint Park. Different voices are heard during the paddle – they pass through crime ridden areas and this is contrasted with the amazing work that Friends of Liesbeeck River have achieved with flood mitigation – it has become a pleasurable area. We have to bring change to those that do not live in the beautiful areas. We all should be able to enjoy our rivers as they are part of our heritage. They can link recreational spaces and connect people.
Derek Watts of Carte Blanche had said on a previous paddle that the housing problems have to be solved – perhaps a solution could be to undertake a PP through Khayelitsha. Kevin showed some slides of what has been achieved in Singapore where they have excellent signage and a catchy slogan.
Do we do a 5th PP?? Different ideas are being considered and a sponsor would help. Some suggestions that were put forward : a Zandvlei 1 mile swim as part of the event (If this is taken up, the water ways would have to be suitable for such an activity); start at Princessvlei and head off in opposite directions. Kevin responded that there are no easy answers and maybe one would be to find another way/route for 8th June 2014.
Martin Thompson, while thanking Kevin, said that it is events like this that keep the pressure on the City. Sandra Fowkes expressed her appreciation for the power to start an initiative and see it through.
4. SURFACE WATER ABSTRATION – Department of Water Affairs – Derril Daniels.
Mr Daniels commenced by saying he would like to contribute to the paddle – and maybe participate next year!
He then said that he would give a brief overview of the Department and how it works. There are two pieces of important legislation – the National Water Act no. 36 of 1998 (NWA) (he handed a summary of this to those present) and the Water Services Act, which is more a tool for Municipal Water Services. NWA protects, manages and conserves water to ensure that there is enough water available for basic human needs and for future generations – i.e. there must be a sustainable use of water.
The 1998 Act, which is currently being reviewed, abolished riparian principles i.e. if water flowed through your property, you were allowed to take water off. This is no longer allowed and an owner cannot extract water for his own personal gain. The Minister of Water Affairs is the custodian of all water and property owners have responsibility for water quality if water passes through their property. Also in terms of the new Act, there is no Water Court and provision has been made for mediation. The NWA makes provision for a water reserve for basic human needs and environmental requirements. Water for reasonable domestic use can be taken provided there is lawful access. No commercial use is permitted without authorisation.
A copy of the NWA summary will be annexed to these minutes for further reading. Derril Daniels said he would be able to advise at the next meeting when the amendments to the Act will be circulated.
Louise Kinrade asked about the water with regard to a number of new developments and whether special permission is needed to irrigate large grounds. Mr Daniels advised that if concerned, send email to him and he will pass on to relevant authority.
BR raised the issue of a legalised 1921 historic water right shared by Silverhurst and Wittebomen in terms of which each diverted 15 000 gallons daily for half a month from the upper Spaansemacht River. This offtake converted to 12 500 cu.litres each annually. The 1998 NWA required all valley users of surface water to register for an authorisation. Silverhurst applied in 2001 and reported its annual offtake to be approximately 50 000 cu.litrres ( for 15 days monthly usage). This is a 400% increase (and not an entitlement) and in dry months the Silverhurst water gate diverts the whole upstream flow, preventing the downstream component from receiving any water.
Mr Daniels advised that he met with Silverhurst as there is no current reserve for this river which needs to be established. BR added that environmental practicalities need to “precede the law” – and asked what action could be taken in the interim?
Silverhurst has never received a licence – just a certificate of registration. The whole catchment is being stressed and he wonders what other things are impacting on water quality and quanitity.
Mr Daniels said that it is important to make sure that water users are not stopped without valid reason; he will be looking at the 50 000 cu.litres of water from Silverhurst but would like more information from the community as regards to historical data. Are there any other users down stream that are being affected?
It was suggested that there should be a follow up meeting in the next month between MT, BR and Mr Daniels – and MT will follow up where there are other users downstream and inform Mr Daniels of all known users and discharge problems.
Mr Daniels finished by saying that he would like to present again to SRCF and deal with
5. MOCKE RIVER/LITTLE PRINCESSVLEI UPDATE –
With powerful photographs, Grant showed before and after pictures and the progress that has been made from 2011 until to date clearing expanses of water with the help of Louise Stafford’s team.
Both areas have been opened up to allow the Leopard Toad to breed. However smaller systems get overgrown quite quickly. Talcott Percent has helped but the reeds grow back quickly. They hope that this year after the breeding season, the river will still be at a stage that can still be managed. The focus is on the river and the Leopard Toad. The Mocke Wetlands was very overgrown. They started with casual labour clearing manually in 2009; and then an aquatic friendly herbicide was used which worked well.
James F advised that in his experience the only way to clear Spanish Reed was to dig it out – Grant said it seemed to be working using the herbicide and cutting back. Grant is encouraged by the new species that have been emerging since the work started. MT added that he had wanted the SRCF to see what is happening in another part of the catchment.
6. WESTLAKE RIVER POLLUTION UPDATE – POLLSMOOR –
MC gave some background from his previous presentation and advised that contact has been maintained with the prison authorities and they are applying pressure where they can. In May, they had a call advising that there was a problem with fish dying in the dam. On inspection they found a large number of large dead fish and were unable to establish the reason. There was concern for using the dam water for irrigation until the water quality was established. Samples were taken – but no results are back yet.
(Action : Mr Daniels asked that a copy of the results be sent to him – action MT/MC)
On the following Monday, grey water was noticed entering into the dam and it was thought to be sewerage coming from the wetlands. Engineering Services tried to assist and the feedback was that the polluted water was coming from Pollsmoor prison grounds. This was reported to the prison authorities but as it is a huge complex, it will be difficult to establish the precise source of all the pollution.
MC advises the prison has changed the way it is working and some aspects have been improved, including a major improvement in the kitchen cleaning areas. City has offered assistance if they can get plans of the underground infrastructure as there may be incorrect connections, e.g. sewage discharging into the stormwater system and vice versa. However, the plans have not been forthcoming to date as their distribution could possibly be considered a security risk. The staff has been communicating and co-operative but the challenges arise when work is to be done by Dept Public Works or external contractors. Contact is being made with the relevant authorities in this regard. Have also engaged with the City Environmental Management section and made them aware of the problems being experienced at Pollsmoor - and with Water affairs, as they abstract water from the dam. MC queried whether he should not be communicating with Mr Daniels of Water Affairs and with his assistance, perhaps things will improve.
The dam water is important because it is used for irrigation of crops which is utilised in the prisons. Candice Haskins should be advised of any pollution incidents as it affects areas downstream.
Suretha asked if it was the manhole opposite the side stream which used to show signs of overflow – MC said this is to be checked by Prison Officials regularly.”
7. TESTING THE WATER – Ph.D. student
Greg asked that any person who uses any of the water bodies in his area of study, please to let him know. His email address is at the beginning of these minutes. The following is a summary of his presentation : -
How communities in Cape Town value, use, impact and govern water-related ecosystem services originating in Table Mountain National Park
CONCEPTUAL ENTRY POINT : His research project is positioned within the realm of urban ecology and ecosystem services. The research uses fresh water as an exemplar of provisioning, regulatory and cultural ecosystem service delivery in Table Mountain National Park. The multidisciplinary nature of this study aims to articulate the diversity of values derived from water-related ecosystem services within a metropolitan area.
Defining ecosystem services : the benefits that humans derive from natural systems, which directly or indirectly support their survival and quality of life. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment classified ecosystem services in to four categories: provisioning; regulating; cultural; and supporting services. This project hopes to address each of these categories, to form a holistic view of how we value, use, impact and govern water-related ecosystem services originating in Table Mountain National Park.
Aim : This project sets out to articulate the diversity of values derived from ecosystem services, through the social, economic, and ecological benefits and trade-offs, and the institutional arrangements associated with a conservation area within a metropolitan setting. Water is used as a vehicle to describe the ecosystem service values and benefits captured here, as it is ubiquitous, mobile, life-essential, and a known indicator of ecosystem health. Most significantly, water operates in both the conservation environments and urban settings and is not confined to one space or hindered by man-made boundaries.
Identify the users of fresh water originating in Table Mountain National Park and determine the cultural and economic values and trade-offs associated with its use;
Map spatial values of and impacts on fresh water as it moves through the park and surrounding anthropogenically altered landscapes. AND
Critically analyse the relevance of current legislation relating to water-related ecosystem service delivery and how frameworks, policies and institutional structures enhance or hinder this service provision.
Methodologies : To answer the research questions, four distinct project components are proposed, which combined offer a multidisciplinary approach to identifying and understanding the benefits and trade-offs derived from a suite of ecosystem services offered by fresh water as it traverses a metropolitan area.
Few empirical studies adopt such an approach to ecosystem service research, limiting our understanding of the full complement of benefits and trade-offs offered by the environment. Even less attention is paid to these services in an urban context.
Cultural values of ecosystem service provision : The first case study will centre on cultural ecosystem services, using above-ground water sources in Table Mountain National Park as an exemplar to identify social values, benefits and trade-offs in service provision, specifically the use of the water for cultural, recreation and aesthetic reasons.
Research design (Cultural values of ecosystem service provision) : To be explored through a stakeholder analysis, interviews, survey distribution and a mapping exercise. Questionnaires will be disseminated online and in hard copy to individuals that actively or passively use above-ground water bodies in the TMNP.
Mapping : Interviews, stakeholder engagements and surveys will include a mapping task where participants can allocate importance or risk values to surface water sources across the study area that carry significant cultural, aesthetic or recreational importance.
Mapping social values as a unit, participants will be allocated a total of 50 dots to assign to places of positive value. Participants will also be given 10 red dots to allocate to water sources of negative value.
The economic values of provisioning ecosystem services : The second case study will evaluate provisioning ecosystem services, using groundwater of the Table Mountain Aquifer (TMA) as an exemplar. A contingent valuation methodology will be adopted to help value this provisioning service as part of the dialogue surrounding payment for ecosystem services.
Research design (The economic values of provisioning ecosystem services) : This component will comprise a stakeholder analysis, interviews, questionnaires and a mapping exercise.
The scale of inclusion of stakeholders and groundwater users will be defined as households tapping the Table Mountain Aquifer (TMA) through boreholes, wells, springs or other abstraction points. On the eastern border of the park, this underground water meets with belowground sources of water in the Cape Flats Aquifer (CFA) - a natural boundary edge.
Surveys : A survey will be generated and distributed to identified borehole and well point users, via email or post. Questions will be based on the duration of abstraction through to the uses and benefits derived from this service, as well as potential economic values of groundwater sources using contingent valuation methods.
Mapping : Respondents will be asked to rank their water abstraction over a gradient scale from very low/1 to very high/5. Ranking scales will be based on water abstraction in litres/year and also offered in relative terms, such as ‘filling one medium size swimming pool’. These data would show which communities are receiving greater benefits from groundwater abstraction, and could be used to discuss a number of other social, economic and sustainability issues.
Again, if anyone here today has an abstraction point in their homes, and would like to take part in this study, please leave your details with me and I will send you the short survey.
Anthropogenic landscape changes and the impact on ecosystem services : This component looks to explore the ecosystem service flows and benefits as a gradient along urban rivers and streams which flow from the park, starting with high levels of service provision, becoming more and more degraded as it flows through the landscape, eventually resulting in disservices to both natural and human systems.
Research design - Anthropogenic landscape changes and the impact on ecosystem services : To answer the research question posed for component three, data collection will require a combination of methodological approaches.
Land use change over time : To analyse land cover change around rivers and streams originating in TMNP, remote sensing data including satellite imagery and high resolution aerial photographs will be used to estimate land use types in the study area for a desirable time period.
The landscapes will be classified into distinct use categories within the riparian buffer zone of 100 m. This buffer zone is believed to be the area where the majority of water quality impacts are greatest. Point source and non-point source pollution points will also be mapped.
Water quality : The City’s Scientific Services laboratories undertake water quality testing on 12 of the 21 rivers which originate in TMNP and flow within the City’s boundaries. For the purpose of this study, the Liesbeek, Silvermine and Sand Rivers will be investigated, due to their geographic locations in the landscapes under review, and due to the varied levels of anthropogenic impacts over time.
Biotic indicators : An alternative to focussing solely on water quality as a complete analysis of river health is the integration of biotic indicators using the SASS 5 method. Samples will be collected once a month during summer and winter seaons from the case study Rivers and compared to historical records.
A GIS platform will be utilised to graphically depict the state of river health over the spatial extent of the case study Rivers using metrics from the three methodologies.
Should anyone have any information pertinent to this component, please contact Gregg at the end of this session. Interviews with key community members, such as SRCF members, may be very valuable. Please share your stories.
Nuances in national parks : Finally, component four will look at issues of ecosystem service governance across different tiers of government, and identify stakeholders involved in sharing and managing the ecosystem services offered by freshwater within a national park. The effectiveness of legislation and policies will be critically examined to determine whether contemporary governance of fresh water makes allowance for the values and benefits arising from ecosystem services. This component involves policy review and interviews with political players. Gregg asked for good luck wishes!!!
Jean Fillis asked whether there will be any measure of water taken from boreholes and well points – Gregg responded that these will be looked at.
8. SOURCE TO SEA UPDATE - Mandy
Noffke / Louise Stafford.
As neither Mandy nor Louise was able to attend, this item will be held over. Caitlin van Witt introduced herself as Mandy’s intern – she will be taking call in Mandy’s absence.
9. ZEMF UPDATE – Sandra Fowkes
Sandra introduced her presentation with a reminder that the ZEMF falls under CAPE – Cape Action for People and the Environment – Zandvlei falls under Estuary Management which is putting management plans in place.
Progress to date
1. ZEMF has got closer to a way of functioning that addresses various participants’ needs, is more effective and efficient;
Focussing on specific issues: so far - sewage spills, pondweed management, law enforcement.
Alternating 14h00 18h00 start times for convenience of different interests
Re-constituted the current key Technical Working Group - Pondweed.
2. There is a potential solution to the legal and funding issue
3. ZEMF is providing a place for constructive communication and collaboration between key role players (and no, the communication is not yet as good as we intend it will become)
Case studies of communication issues
Interest group attempts to manipulate the vlei management resources to suit their own needs, wants or agendas. For example yacht club championships in early April followed by Peninsula Canoe Club flagship event gave rise to some panic/ pressure emails. We have now discussed that recreational representatives have responsibility to inform vlei management of all their planned events long in advance so that these dates are factored into a work plan.
The timing of the cutting of pondweed to after to the opening of the mouth is being honed so that a better depth of water for users can be obtained.
The recommendations of the Pondweed TWG were unilaterally changed in December and January with no communication with the TWG. The responsibility was placed on Scientific Services but further investigation showed that they had no role in the change. It was the reserve manager’s initiative. Big lesson – if you want support and collaboration you HAVE to communicate with those who have invested time, effort, professional insights – and much of this on a voluntary basis.
The relatively new unit headed by Arne Purves undertook some law enforcement initiatives related to Zandvlei but apparently did not communicate in advance with management of the nature reserve.
We have a contingency plan that includes what to do when something goes wrong. However it was not implemented when recently, someone reported a sewage spill at Military Road. This was promptly repaired but nothing was reported to the recreational users representatives (as is supposed to be done). This is of concern as there are anecdotal reports of illness arising from canoeists in contact with the water probably associated with a sewage spill.
Concern over sewage spills were escalated to the Provincial Coastal Committee. Nothing has resulted from this report to date, in spite of attempts to set up meetings between Province and City.
The challenges for the future are;
Patient persistence to change behaviour of players to align to deliver the EMP. Repeatedly sending the message to any and all off-side players to get back onside according to the agreed rules/guidelines.
Focus beyond treating symptoms to dealing with causes.
The bottom line is that we are currently dealing with symptoms. Long established uses that are now regarded as rights; developments undertaken based on far less understanding of the systems than we have today – and we still have major questions about how Zandvlei does function.
The challenge is to really “work” the Estuary Management Plan. Ideally it should be driven – or at least championed – by a senior person in the City with checks and balances provided within the functioning of ZEMF by a strong recreational/ user lobby. The management of Zandvlei Nature Reserve is understaffed and unmotivatingly remunerated. The nett result is that far too much responsibility to drive the
management of the estuary is being “foisted” onto civil society. This is neither appropriate nor sustainable.
10. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting will be held on 22nd October 2013 at 09:30 at the Cape Research Centre.
See this link
for the Annexure to Sand River Catchment Forum minutes of 18th June 2013.