Thembelihle Wetland (Re)creation
The (Re)creation of the Thembelihle Wetland project was originated in 2010 by the Western Cape Government Department of Human Settlements (DoHS) during the construction of a high-density, low-cost housing project. The development was initiated with the aim of providing over 219 housing units within Pelican Park, a small suburb located on the north-east area of the Zeekoevlei lake in the Western Cape.
During the environmental investigation of the project, it was ascertained that a seasonal wetland would be lost and an environmental compensation for this would therefore be required. After various sites were investigated, it was decided that the off-site wetland rehabilitation project would be implemented on the vacant land adjacent to the Rondevlei section of the False Bay Nature Reserve (FNBR).
Rondevlei Wetlands Nature Reserve, Cape Town, South Africa.
Lukhozi Consulting Engineers (Pty) Ltd were appointed by the DoHS to obtain all the required environmental and water-related approvals.
ARLA Consulting was appointed by Lukhozi to provide the landscape plan for the development, and in January 2020 the conceptual design work commenced. It has since been decided that in order to recreate the required wetland conditions, it will be necessary to excavate several areas within the site in order to bring the ground surface closer to the water table. This was achieved by establishing a well point at the site and the depth of the groundwater was continuously monitored. The reason this is so important is that the groundwater levels are known to fluctuate up to two metres between winter and summer!
The design provided by ARLA Consulting is summarized in the image shown below.
Conceptual Landscape Plan (ARLA Consulting, 2020)
Although the project is still at the conceptual stage, the Lukhozi team are looking forward to finalizing the process for implementation.
Hippos on the banks of the Rondevlei Wetlands (Image sourced online: http://thegreentimes.co.za/)
PROJECT FUN FACT: Hippos are known inhabitants of the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. During the design development, it was decided that the hippos will be encouraged to enter the proposed wetland and graze as part of the maintenance plan. This will prevent the need to regularly cut the grass!