The Western Cape department of agriculture has launched a R78-million Holsloot river weir project which is set to benefit 150 farming households near Rawsonville.
The Holsloot weir is a river protection intervention aimed at ensuring functioning ecosystems.
According to Rudolph Röscher, the province’s district manager in the Cape Winelands, the weir provides an agricultural and environmental solution to the ecological damage caused by several severe floods over the years, alien invasive plants, and maintenance performed within the river as a result of pumps being washed away by floods.
In a media release, Röscher explains the Western Cape department of agriculture’s sustainable resource use and management programme facilitated support to the Holsloot Water User’s Association utilising the principles of area-wide planning.
“The outcome of this is the development of a river maintenance management plan. Using the principles of payment for ecosystem services, the Holsloot Water User Association has included the cost for the alien clearing in their water tariff that the individual farmers successfully adopted along the Holsloot River.”
Röscher adds, “Individual farmers and landowners will actively implement alien infestation clearing projects to restore the Holsloot River along the riparian zone the project.”
Project welcomed with open arms
The Western Cape’s minister for agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, handed the multi-million Rand project over to the Holsloot Water User Association to operate.
Speaking at the official opening and handover, Meyer congratulated the project team consisting of officials in his department, Stellenbosch University, Ingerop Consulting Engineers, JVC Construction and implementing agent CASIDRA.
In his opening of the river weir, Meyer said the project culminated from the provincial government’s infrastructure-led growth strategy.
“This specific project aims to mitigate the impacts of change climate. Completing the project was possible because competent and committed officials and partners affected the project’s design, scope, implementation, and construction.
“The project will directly impact approximately 150 farming households and 4000ha of mainly wine grapes under irrigation.”
Ettiene Weidemann of the HWUA highlights that, unlike in the past, they now have a measured river.
“We now know how much water goes where. We also have less movement of sediment in the river, which improves the flow of the water. The building of the weir is a great example of what a functioning government can do for its people.”
Meyer adds, “I am pleased that the Holsloot project focuses on restoring ecological infrastructure as it supports increased productivity and socio-ecological resilience. The project also improves water security and job creation. The maintenance management plan ensures the sustainably of the project.”