Types of projects CRIDF works with

Types of projects CRIDF works with

CRIDF transforms the way water infrastructure builds climate resilience for poor communities in Southern Africa. Looking for long-term solutions, we do this in a number of ways, but the first step is always in response to a request for assistance from our partners. One of these approaches is to develop, plan and build ‘proof of concept’ ideas. These are designed to show, in a small, experimental way, how to better build climate resilient infrastructure in poor areas. In this way we can find out how well a concept works, or make minor adjustments to a small project, before the Southern African countries implement these plans on a larger scale. Some of the ways in which we do this are:

  • Livelihoods interventions
  • Border towns and transport corridors
  • Flood forecasting and early flood warning
  • Accessing agriculture value chains
  • Enhanced adaptation through monitoring

Border towns and transport corridors

Most trade within Southern Africa uses articulated trucks and the road network. Many of the borders in the region are at river crossings. Borders in Southern Africa are busy places with trucks often waiting 10 or 15 days to clear customs. These border towns and their water infrastructure, if it exists at all, are built for a smaller number of residents, and they face two water related challenges:

  • Climate change adversely affects water availability, due to more erratic rains in the catchment areas
  • Water infrastructure is under pressure from an ongoing stream of truckers as well as the traders who collect in the town to meet the truckers’ needs.

Climate induced water shortages in these towns can easily cause spikes in disease hotspots and waterborne diseases. The towns’ highly transient populations are well placed to carry these diseases to other locations in the region.

CRIDF’s climate resilient, water friendly demonstration projects showcase easily replicable low-cost solutions. These solutions meet the water and sanitation needs of the temporary populations of truckers and traders, while providing water security for the more permanent townspeople and at the same time helping prevent disease outbreaks and river pollution. A number of temporary jobs and a smaller number of permanent jobs are also created.

Accessing agriculture value chains

Certain areas in Southern Africa are ecologically sensitive and the scarcity of water resources, exacerbated by climate change, means that people and wildlife are often competing for the same water. This competition can lead to a decline in wildlife populations, further weakening the ecology of the area and worsening the impact of climate change.

In these areas, CRIDF has worked with communities to build accessible water resources for communities and their crops, freeing up the existing water for wildlife and preventing human/animal conflict. This work has also linked communities to markets to sell their excess agricultural produce, leading to significant improvements in livelihoods. This solution helps preserve the ecological diversity of the environment as well as supporting the communities with their water and food security and improving their livelihoods.


Enhanced adaptation through monitoring

Climate change adaptation for poor communities is dependent on good quality and timely information on rainfall and river flows. Such monitoring is essential for early warning of floods, drought mitigation planning, and management of increasingly scarce and erratic water resources. CRIDF is supporting improved monitoring by identifying key monitoring locations and designing and equipping monitoring stations, as well as distributing this information in a timely manner. Through this ‘information value chain’ of monitoring, collecting, analysing and distributing, CRIDF builds climate resilience within the poorer communities in Southern Africa.

Improved and timely access to information on water stress due to reduced flows and storage enables authorities to institute water management techniques that ensure equitable access to water by all. CRIDF works to enable open and transparent operation and management of waters stored in existing dams through participatory methodologies.

Through all of these activities, we are building adaptive capacity and the resilience of the poorer communities of Southern Africa to deal with climate change.