Cata is a former farming region at the base of wild forested mountains, reorganized forcibly during apartheid into a condensed town, with farming and other economic activity destroyed and now largely abandoned.
In Cata a substantial clean river flows from the mountains. However, this resource is threatened by erosion, invasive water-hungry Australian wattle trees and pollution from traditional free-range livestock grazing.
What is triggering new water management strategies? Development of small-scale cultural and eco-tourism. Villagers now see potential to make some money if they protect their land and water, and they gain a sense of value in their cultural heritage, which stimulates further rural initiative.
Technical solutions initiated:
• Erosion control via planting vegetation on mountainsides near tourist sites to keep them attractive
• Marketing eco- and cultural tourism and training local guides
• Removing thousands of invasive trees
• Construction of a waterless compost toilet at the village school near the river
Potential for social transformation: Vast.
Successes have created an environment of goodwill for new initiatives, and Cata is already a model of new rural governance structures in South Africa. The school and children are also carefully integrated into each new village project in order to expose village youth to new ideas and entrepreneurial opportunities.
View visual references of these two projects here: Ashoka – Water Farming Attachment B
For more detail about this collaboration click here: Ashoka – Water Farming in Africa