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Holsloot Weir handed to HWUA

On Thursday 27 May the Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, officially opened the Holsloot Weir near Rawsonville and handed it over to the Holsloot Water User Association (HWUA) to operate.

Speaking at the official opening and handover of the R78 million project, Minister Meyer congratulated the project team consisting of officials of the Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA), Stellenbosch University, Ingerop Consulting Engineers, JVC Construction and implementing agent CASIDRA.

Meyer: “We are today celebrating the completion of a successful project. It is an outcome of the Western Cape Government’s infrastructure-led growth strategy. This specific project aims to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 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 4 000 ha of mainly wine grapes under irrigation.”

The Holsloot Weir is a river protection intervention aimed at ensuring functioning ecosystems.

According to the WCDoA’s District Manager for the Cape Winelands, Rudolph Röscher, 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.

Röscher: “The Department of Agriculture’s Sustainable Resource Use and Management Programme facilitated support to the Holsloot Water User’s Association (HWUA) utilising the principles of Area-Wide Planning. The outcome of this is the development of a River Maintenance Management Plan (MMP). Using the principles of payment for ecosystem services, the HWUA has included the cost for the alien clearing in their water tariff that the individual farmers successfully adopted along the Holsloot River.”

Röscher continues: “Individual farmers and landowners will actively implement alien infestation clearing projects to restore the Holsloot River along the riparian zone of the project.”

Ettiene Weiderman of the HWUA highlights that, unlike in the past, they now have a measured river.

Weidemann: “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.”

“I am pleased that the 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,” concludes Meyer.

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