Working for Water celebrates 20 years!
The world-renowned Working for Water (WfW) Programme celebrates two decades of invasive species clearing and job creation since it’s inauguration on 16 October, 2015. This celebrated programme, which has gained international recognition for its achievements in invasive species clearing, environmental conservation and job creation, was launched in 1995 in the Western Cape by the late Professor Kader Asmal, then Minister of Water Affairs.
The WfW programme is a Department of Environmental Affairs funded programme, which aims to eradicate invasive alien plants and improve water security. It has has created more than 180 000 jobs to young people, women and the physically disabled. It has trained specialist teams that can work in all terrains, such as high altitude teams, as well as water teams to deal with aquatic invaders.
Securing water resources
Invasive plants pose a direct threat not only to South Africa's biological diversity, but also to water security, the ecological functioning of natural systems and the productive use of land. They intensify the impact of fires and floods and increase soil erosion. These plants can divert enormous amounts of water from more productive uses. More than this, invasive aquatic plants – such as the water hyacinth – affect agriculture, fisheries, transport, recreation and water supply.
WfW works with local communities, by providing jobs, and with national government departments such as environment, agriculture, and trade and industry. It also collaborates with provincial departments of agriculture, conservation and environment, research foundations and private companies.
Since its launch, the programme has cleared more than 1-million hectares of invasive alien plants, all the while providing jobs and training to thousands of people from the most marginalised sectors of society, of these, 52% are women.
WfW currently runs over 300 projects in all nine of South Africa's provinces. The programme is globally recognised as one of the most outstanding environmental conservation initiatives in Africa, and the world.