Johannesburg, 17 July 2014. All over the world, nations have respected and admired Mandela for his unfailing integrity, his belief in democracy and collective leadership. He had the talent to inspire friend and foe alike. Children, world-leaders, academics, pop stars, the underprivileged, the wealthy, the frail – he is loved and revered to an unmatched degree.
Johannesburg, 17 June 2014. Joining Cycology and the Green Building Council of South Africa is Royal HaskoningDHV, an international consultant company, in a campaign to create awareness of green mobility alternatives with a focus on electric bicycle commuting and the development of cycling routes throughout Sandton.
5 June 2014, The half-way point has been reached in the important climate change vulnerability assessment currently underway by Royal HaskoningDHV for The Swartland Municipality, on the Cape West Coast. The project involves the towns and surrounding areas of Malmesbury, Moorreesburg, Yzerfontein, and Darling.
Johannesburg, 8 June 2014. Despite living in the age of high technology and convenience, sometimes situations demand a more traditional approach to accessing essential information.
Johannesburg, 22 May 2014. Did you know that Southern Africa’s landscape is one of the most globally diverse? Its Cape Floral Kingdom for example, is one of only six floral kingdoms in the world. This ecosystem supports 9,600 recorded plant species, 70% of which are found nowhere else on the planet. Yet this precious asset is under threat by invasive alien plant species.
Johannesburg, 15 May 2014. Royal HaskoningDHV, South Africa and Shuma Africa Projects signed an Enterprise Development Agreement in Johannesburg on the 8th May 2014.
Why is heritage so important to us? We believe it’s because time-honoured traditions, buildings and landscapes help shape our social identity and provide us all with a sense of connection; to each other, to our communities, and to the past. This connection is what grounds us and gives us all a sense of direction.
Overcoming population problems and land shortages in Africa’s second smallest nation
Johannesburg, 11 July 2014. Known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is famous for its lush highlands, deep valleys and Mountain Gorillas. But it’s the low-lying land currently causing concern among the country’s rapidly increasing population.
Did you know that Rwanda’s population is currently 12.2m but is
by 2050? A 2.7% annual growth rate makes this small republic the most densely populated African country (with 416 people per km2) and the fourth most densely populated country in the world.*
Population boom and climate impact coupled with Rwanda’s unique geography has led to severe environmental degradation and a scarcity of productive land. In addition, soil erosion and river delta flooding have created problems for the country’s important sugarcane crop.
Floods Cause Devastation
In 2011, flooding affected 80% of Rwanda’s sugarcane estates, and in 2013 approximately 35,000 tonnes of sugarcane were destroyed by flooding along the
River. The reduced harvest has pushed the price of sugar to unaffordable levels for the majority of the country’s population.
Experts have long agreed that land shortage is a challenge, not least for the vast majority of households who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. But with suitable productive land, producers believe it is possible to grow up to 250,000 tonnes of cane annually.
In 1998, the government assigned 3,100ha of land along the Nyabarongo River in rural Kigali to the country’s sole sugar producer. Another similar sized area was given to independent out-growers. Much of this land however is situated on flood plains and almost half of it is uncultivated due to a very high risk of flooding and continuous water stagnation.
Living with Water – An Innovative Solution
As part of a larger programme of work, a new water management infrastructure project is now underway in partnership with Kabuye Sugar Works and other private and public sector organisations from Rwanda and the Netherlands.
Deputy Project Manager Geertjo van Dijk explains, “Rather than fight the predictable annual flood and produce embankments, we plan to rehabilitate former drainage routes and old river courses to drain the flood plains much faster - as nature intended. We will fortify any weak spots along the river bank to avoid inflow from the river onto the flood plains, and will be helping local farmers to maintain the system using improved local methods.”
Using ‘building with nature’ approaches like this means the work has minimal impact on the environment and ongoing maintenance can be managed easily by local farmers, making the whole project highly sustainable.
Good communication with farmers and other stakeholders lies at the heart of the project. Van Dijk again, “We have a steering committee in place to manage important firm-farm relations. It’s so worthwhile because as well as gaining local commitment and building our knowledge of sugarcane’s tolerance to water, we’re able to further support locals with labouring work in the creation of the drainage channels – enhancing the local society together.”