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Dinkwayane Water Smart Project

Location: Phiring, Limpopo, South Africa

Timespan: 2019 – ongoing

Partners: Conservation South Africa, K2C, Hoedspruit Hub

Image from the Dinkwayane Water Smart Project. Several people sitting in chairs outside are looking at a woman talking on a shaded porch.
Image by K2C

In GOGREEN, we define the green SDGs as the following SDGs: SDG 6, SDG 7, SDG 11, SDG 12, SDG 13, SDG 14, SDG 15

The Dinkwayane Water Smart (DWS) Project aims to address the water shortage problem in Phiring, Limpopo, in the Northeastern part of South Africa, to benefit livestock, crops, and tourism. Current agricultural trends and land-use practices are leading to increased vulnerability in the context of current climate change predications. There are low yield agricultural production and limited access to mainstream markets for products. Further, degradation of land reinforces this and also have negative impact on water deliverables for downstream users. This predicament results in a limited diversification of potential income generation, in an area already affected by the legacy of apartheid. The agricultural community is also experiencing a loss of traditional farming knowledge as more commercial farming paths are pursued.

The DWS project goal is for community buy-in to the mission in order to establish a learning site showcasing the benefits of a climate adaptive green economy where integrated sustainable land-use practices are enhancing and maintaining eco-systems while simultaneously contributing to sustainable livelihoods and creating a resilient community.

Four outcomes contribute to this planned impact:

  • Sustainable livelihoods promote the development of a more resilient community
  • Growth in production increases the breadth of access to market opportunities
  • Recognition of the value of climate-smart adaptations results in broader uptake/investment by the community as a whole
  • Climate-smart farming adaptations and eco-friendly tourism efforts prevent further degradation of the natural ecosystem


The central barriers to change are: 1) knowledge and capacity to implement enabling policies and innovative best practices; and 2) opportunity cost for implementation of above, and 3) limited cross sectoral linkages.

With an increased focus on climate adaptation projects in South Africa, the DWS project has the potential to be a learning site that can support replication nationally and is in alignment with national policy. An example hereof is the Draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that the Department of Environmental Affairs published in 2019. Especially the objective to build climate resilience and adaptive capacity to respond to climate change risk and vulnerability as well as the objective to improve understanding of climate change impacts and capacity to respond to these impacts is relevant.

Both replication and scaling can draw on design principles from the DWS Partnership Project, as the Ecosystem Custodian Model successfully builds community buy-in prior to full-scale implementation. Additionally, the project is in alignment with local and international policies. As an example, the project has experienced local government buy-in as seen with Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET).

The DWS project vision centers around a framework of a Conservation Agreement, with crop farming, rangeland management, and financial instruments as key areas.

  • The Conservation Agreement is developed through participation to create the enabling framework and guide the implementation.
  • Crop farming is supported by training on agro-ecology, school gardens, and school curriculum. This is done with the aim of enhancing and improving diversity and social entrepreneurship as well as other social and ecological benefits for the community.
  • Rangeland management includes training stock farmers, vegetation study, and grazing plans to enhance social and ecological benefits for the community.
  • Finally, financial instruments include market access, mentoring, and savings groups to potentially access innovative financial mechanisms with the aim of linking stakeholders to sustainable management and finite water resources.


The implementing partners (K2C, Conservation South Africa, Hoedspruit Hub) had prior experience in collaborating in the sector and region. This collaborative institutional knowledge has the stakeholders well positioned to represent the needs of the Dinkwayane community.

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