Estuary Management in South Africa – An Overview of the Challenges and Progress Made to Date

  • Pierre de VilliersEmail author
Part of the Estuaries of the World book series (EOTW)


The need for estuary management and estuary management plans in South Africa has resulted from the encroachment of human settlements and activities into the estuarine environment. The advantages of this environment to humans are that it provides freshwater, is relatively safe from coastal storms and provides a myriad of ecosystem goods and services. Estuarine systems are diverse and have thus resulted in the involvement of a diverse set of Government Departments and stakeholders in their use and management. The South African Government has developed the Integrated Coastal Management Act in an attempt to facilitate cooperative governance in this field. The C.A.P.E. Estuaries Programme was a cooperative initiative aimed at testing the implementation of this Act in the field of estuary management in an inclusive, transparent manner. Valuable lessons were learned and systems and processes that were developed were embedded into Local, Provincial and National Government planning documents. The continued involvement of all spheres of Government and other stakeholders is required for this field to become a successful show case for South Africa. Lessons from global success stories should be incorporated into best practices into the future.


Estuary management Freshwater Ecosystems Stakeholders Lessons learned Best practice 



I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions made by all those involved in the setting up and implementing of the C.A.P.E. Estuaries Programme. Without their contribution this programme would have simply been “a nice idea”.

Thanks to Marienne de Villiers, Janine Adams and Rikki de Villiers (map) for advice and comments on the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CapeNatureStellenboschSouth Africa

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