Huis-Tradouw River Flow Restoration and Monitoring Project
This project (completed in 2018) aimed to ensure that minimum flows were restored to the Huis River flowing through the town of Barrydale in the Western Cape, South Africa, which supports populations of the Critically Endangered Tradou Redfin without negatively impacting on other water-users. Our research showed that that 100 % of the low flows in the river were being abstracted and that at least 10 % of those flows would need to be re-allocated to the downstream ecosystem in order to restore redfin habitat. As a result of interventions, the municipality retrofitted a release valve on the weir diverting water to the town, allocating some of this water back to the river.
We managed to achieve a significant improvement in the extent and quality of habitat for the Critically Endangered Barrydale Redfin and the freshwater ecosystem on which it depends without negatively impacting water-users. We also succeeded in incorporating sustainability principles into the Barrydale Water Improvement Plan (BWIP) and to improve water efficiency and demand management. Through on-going alien invasive plant clearing in partnership with CapeNature, parts of the catchment have been restored to near-natural condition. The project has provided a successful demonstration model for catalysing interventions in other water-stressed tributaries supporting critical aquatic biodiversity elsewhere.
Watch this space