In KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, a region home to more than 10 million people, the uMngeni river drainage basin supplies 42% of water to the entire province. The basin’s infrastructure is fully developed with four dams and inter-basin transfers maximizing total water supply. However, the region’s demand for water exceeds the system’s ability to supply it. Further deteriorating water quality is increasing the total expense for water treatment and distribution.
The uMngeni Ecological Infrastructure Partnership (UEIP) focuses on enhancing the functionality of natural ecosystems through improved water governance, knowledge and effective collaboration between enterprises and governing bodies within the KwaZulu-Natal province. Through these efforts, the partnership expects to reduce costs and flooding, improve water quality and security and support economic growth.
The partnership will form a commercially viable organization that can manage investments and implement projects in alliance with 24 local institutions representing the public, private and civil society sectors. Already, the partnership has been successful in building networks, sharing information, undertaking research and developing shared priorities with this network of partners. The partnership aims to institute a dedicated “Ecological Infrastructure Charge” to existing bulk water tariffs – using this funding model to support the development of the partnership’s independent institution for improving water and wastewater services delivery.