Representatives from the Kruger National Park, a South African National Parks (SANParks) reserve, this week met with the traditional leaders of Bushbuckridge, to strengthen water education and to ensure that water is used sparingly in order to preserve the Sabie river.
Kruger National Park communications and marketing manager Ike Phaahla said the aim was to work with the traditional leaders to ensure the status of the river.
“What we are essentially trying to showcase is that the Kruger National Park is not just about the fauna but also about the flora, and water is life in every sphere; we have invited the traditional leaders today because they own the land and we need their support so that we return the quality status of Sabie river,” he said.
Kruger National Park threshold ecologist Robin Pieterson added that it was important to look after the Sabie river because it is a flagship of the country and was home to more than 43 different types of fish.
“For people living adjacent to the park, it is important to look after the river as it can be a food source as the river holds lots of fish.
"There is a big farming community along the borders of the park; emerging farmers who need the water from the river; and communities who need portable water, that is why we are trying to help communities access the river and its water a bit better. South African National Parks is trying [to implement] water stewardship programmes for emerging farmers to help communities access water in the river,” said Pieterson.
Kruger National Park water resources manager Eddie Riddell said the game reserve had a mandate to maintain the Sabie river's ecological status.
"This is a very pristine river. It has a good water quality and a good eco-status; it is relatively well intact ecologically. It’s critically important to SANParks for the Kruger National Park to maintain that eco status but most importantly and more strategically, this river will now be supplying the city of Maputo, in Mozambique, through the Kurumana dam; so from South Africa’s perspective, we have a strong mandate to ensure that this river stays in the state it is so that we are able to supply good water quality to our neighbours in Mozambique.” he said.