Transformative Riverine Management Projects in Durban: Background and Structuring
- AUTHOR C40 Cities Finance Facility
- PUBLICATION DATE December 2019
The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality governs the greater Durban area, a coastal city containing 18 major river systems. Some river systems extend far inland of the city boundary. Over the past 30 years, deteriorating river water quality and more frequent flooding have caused escalating costs to the city, businesses and citizens.
As a response, EThekwini Municipality has built a strong policy base and institutional buy-in for riverine management, especially in partnership with other stakeholders. This report is the first in a 3-part series presenting Durban’s learnings from the establishment, implementation and planned upscaling of transformative riverine management projects, supported by the C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF). Much can be gained from reflecting on and sharing the learnings from the city’s riverine management experiences so far. The reports contrast three different riverine management projects: (i) the city-led Sihlanzimvelo Project, (ii) community-led Aller River Pilot Project, and (iii) the Green Corridors special purpose vehicle, supported by the city.
An analysis of the background and structuring of these projects suggests the following key insights:
- Transformative riverine management requires building effective transversal working relationships, for example, across departments, institutions and sectors. Projects should be planned collaboratively to establish joint project resourcing and mutual accountability.
- For transformative riverine management projects to be institutionally and financially sustainable, a compelling business case is needed. This business case should justify the project purpose and benefits in the context of the services that the city should deliver and its socio-economic and environmental priorities.
- Riverine management projects should be sized to ensure they are technically feasible, contextually relevant, manageable and operationally sustainable.
- Appointing an appropriately mandated, resourced and skilled programme manager with a multi-year focus is vital for transformative riverine management projects to be sustainable. This ensures that projects achieve their desired outcomes, are delivered cost-efficiently and within the desired timeframes, helping to underpin continued political and financial support.
- Transformative riverine management projects should be designed to build human and social capital to enhance human health, well-being and to grow the green economy.
- City partnerships with citizens, businesses and non-profits can leverage wider, longer-term investment in riverine management, and offer opportunities for innovative approaches that bring enhanced project impacts and transformation.