The DUCT Story
“Rivers do not lie. If your city does not have a functional waste management system and if too many people do not care what happens to their waste, then far too much of that waste is going to end up in the river. If your city is not spending enough on the construction, operation and management of its sewage systems, then too much sewage is going to end up in the river. If your landowners – public and private – do not make an active effort to stem and defeat the tide of alien vegetation invading their land, then fairly soon the indigenous vegetation will disappear, with all the attendant consequences……”
The uMsunduzi and Umgeni River systems have become badly degraded through neglect and over-exploitation. With increasing demands on resources, poor governance and external threats such as global climate change these river systems will be increasingly unable to support the range of aquatic, riverine and human life which is dependent on a healthy river system.
DUCT’s vision is an ecologically healthy and biologically diverse uMngeni-uMsunduzi river system that provides sustained ecological goods and services for the communities that depend on them for their survival. They envisage that their communities will show respect for the rivers and will take ownership and responsibility for the condition of the rivers, seeking to preserve their natural function and beauty.
They envisage rivers where water quality and quantity are maintained at acceptable norms with healthy natural riparian zones and where the biological diversity is preserved. They have a vision of a community where all residents possess a basic understanding and appreciation of their river ecosystems. They see government, business, the scientific community and civil society cooperating in providing the resources to effectively manage the river systems.
They recognise that the problems with the health of the rivers are large and have not developed overnight. Their vision is ambitious and will only be achieved through progressive, combined and sustained actions by government and civil society. Their role is to:
- Raise awareness of problems with river health.
- Develop, demonstrate and encourage the adoption of solutions to these problems.
- Support and learn from people and communities who wish to make a difference or are already making a difference to the health of their rivers.
- Actively engage in river health projects, education and capacity building.
- They work in partnership with other organisations, whether from civil society or government, who share their vision.
To champion the environmental health of the uMngeni and uMsunduzi Rivers