oa Agriprobe - River protection works in die Hex River

Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1810-9799



During the November 2008 floods severe damage to farming infrastructure has been experienced as well as extensive erosion alongside rivers in the Cape Winelands District. Almost 80% of all damages that were listed occurred alongside river systems. This was almost to be expected since the deepest and best soils are commonly found in the flood plain of rivers. These soils are the first to be developed for high investment long-term crops such as deciduous fruit. Very little space is left undeveloped between the agricultural land and the low flow edge of water position. There is little space for rivers to meander in without the banks being eroded. The traditional braided river structures have mostly disappeared as rivers have become channelised. The popular belief of land-users is that the position of the river must be forced to remain constant. Historically farmers have bulldozed sediment out of rivers to "open" them and used the material to create levees along the sides of the rivers to prevent the river from meandering into the orchards. Alien vegetation have infested riverbanks and displaced indigenous vegetation which was better adapted to controlling erosion and thus dramatically increased the instability of rivers.

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