Community Based Governance of Wetlands in the Sand River Catchment Area (South Africa)

The community of Craigieburn in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is located on a 1 200-ha wetland that plays an important role in the regulation and maintenance of the Sand River. The situation in Craigieburn is representative of the widely-reported trend of erosion and collapse of community-based resource management regimes in the former "homelands" in South Africa. The wetlands are being harvested and cropped without institutional guidance or support, and without consideration for future sustainability. Currently, the lack of appropriate and effective governance is regarded as one of the most serious constraints to sustaining the natural resource and the livelihoods derived from it.

This grant will allow the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD) and the Legal Entity Assessment Project (LEAP), to carry out an action-research project with a view to addressing issues of water and food security and improving livelihoods. Together with the Craigieburn community, user groups and stakeholders, the LEAP/AWARD team will devise and test appropriate ways of allocating wetland resources. Options for institutional arrangements will be explored, decided upon collectively, and tested.

Given that the situation of the wetlands and farmers whose livelihoods depend on them is not unique to the Sand River Catchment, the lessons from this project will be shared with officials at the provincial and national level. They will also be compiled in a book featuring Craigieburn as a case study on how to strengthen tenure security and land management in a way that is pro-poor.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, June 19, 2006

End Date

Monday, March 15, 2010


36 months

IDRC Officer

Sanginga, Pascal

Total funding

CA$ 199,200


South Africa, South of Sahara


Agriculture and Food Security

Project Leader

Tessa Cousins


Association for Water and Rural Development

Institution Country

South Africa

Institution Website