The Municipal Support Initiative (MSI) has focused on improving the capacity of two local governments (Maruleng and Ba-Phalaborwa) to deal with natural resource protection, degradation and climate change vulnerability as follows:
- Support for land-use planning (and inclusion of biodiversity and climate change)
- The integration of climate change into disaster risk reduction and the municipal Integrated Development Plans
- Support for improved functioning of wastewater treatment works (which affect aquatic health and biodiversity)
- Support for municipal water conservation and demand management.
The MSI plays an important role in connecting other USAID RESILIM O projects and sub-grants to municipal stakeholders through established relationships of trust.
In terms of biodiversity-sensitive land-use planning:
- USAID RESILIM-O projects have been into the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) for the Maruleng LM
- AWARD joined the Local Economic Development (LED) Forum for the Mopani District.
- AWARD has developed Biodiversity Sector Plans and Critical Biodiversity Area (CBA) maps for the both local municipalities (tools for integrating critical biodiversity areas into various plans) and they resolved to adopt the CBA map as a guiding document for land-use applications.
- AWARD has assisted the Moletele CPA (owners of some 77,000 ha) with land-use planning and zoning to guide future developments.
Two projects speak to both municipal capacity development (MSI) and better water resources management.
These include two sub-grants were initiated in 2017.
- The Water Conservation and Demand Management work (implemented by WRP Consulting Engineers) started in June 2017 with a capacity development workshop for technical staff from both local municipalities, Lepelle Northern Water and the Department of Public Works. WRP investigations revealed extremely high water demand (higher than most towns in South Africa); water leaks, high proportions of non-revenue water due to faulty meters, illegal connections and poor implementation of regulations and policies.
- The wastewater treatment works grant (implemented by Water Group) aims to develop and implement a turnaround plan for three municipal wastewater treatment plants in the Mopani District. These are major contributors to poor water quality in the Lower Olifants. Work began in September with skills and risk assessments and process audits of the plants.