URP Short Summary

Climate projections indicate that the uMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM), in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, will experience a warmer future with uncertain changes in mean annual rainfall, but with an increased number of flash flood and storm events due to an increase in short duration rainfall. With floods, severe storms and wildland fires already being among the main hazards currently faced by communities in the UMDM, the projections are of concern as they indicate an increased risk of these climate-driven events, and do not exclude the potential for an increase in drought events.

The projections are of particular concern for the areas and populations in the UMDM as many are already vulnerable to these hazards due to various non-climate related reasons, including: i) low-cost and informal housing located close to river watercourses or on flood plains within catchments; ii) housing of poor standard located on steep hillsides; iii) under-resourced fire stations; iv) high-density informal and formal settlements; v) poor land use management and over-exploitation of natural resources, including grasslands; and vi) small scale farmers using crops and methods that are not resilient to the impacts of climate change. The predicted increase in frequency and intensity of climate-driven events will significantly increase the vulnerability of affected communities within the UMDM, where adaptive capacity is low. This is inter alia related to low levels of income and education, a significant young (under 19) and old (over 70) population, and a general lack of awareness with regard to impacts of climate change.

 

The overall objective of the uMngeni Resilience project is to reduce the vulnerability of these communities and small scale farmers in the UMDM to the impacts of climate change. This is to be achieved by increasing climate resilience and adaptive capacity by combining traditional and scientific knowledge in an integrated approach to adaptation. This will be enabled through implementing a suite of complementary gender-sensitive project interventions, focussing on: i) early warning and ward-based disaster response systems; ii) ecological and engineering infrastructure solutions specifically focused on vulnerable communities, including women; iii) integrating the use of climate-resilient crops and climate-smart techniques into new and existing farming systems; and iv) disseminating adaptation lessons learned and policy recommendations, to facilitate scaling up and replication. A number of sites were identified by the UMDM as demonstration sites for the project. Four sites were selected, based on the results of a vulnerability assessment, stakeholder consultations, and subsequent short-listing and ground-truthing through site visits. The sites are: i) low-lying high-density settlements; ii) the rural area of Ward 8 of Vulindlela, Msunduzi Local Municipality; iii) the rural farming area of Ward 8 of Swayimane, uMshwathi Local Municipality; and iv) the rural area of Ward 5 of Nhlazuka, Richmond Local Municipality.