Transformative Riverine Management Programme

Collaborating with communities to clean urban waterways

Transformative Riverine Management Programme
Sanitation: Public space cleaning
Water: Catchment management
Disaster Preparedness: Flooding
Ecosystems: Conservation areas

This programme was initiated by the Roads and Stormwater department in the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality to prevent damage to infrastructure caused by waste and alien vegetation (e.g. the blockage of culverts). Working with 11 other city departments, it aims to address the twin challenges of unemployment and environmental pollution.


The programme involves cleaning watercourses and maintaining them to allow them to flow freely. The regular removal of waste and overgrowth prevents future blockages. During a major flooding event in April 2022, areas where the TRMP is operational experienced less damage to infrastructure than those where the programme is not implemented. The programme focuses on highly polluted rivers and streams in low-income, high-density settlements. Local ownership is fostered by employing cooperatives from local communities.

Social Impact

The initiative contributes to improving the lives of the poor by providing cleaner and healthier outdoor spaces for the communities living near the rivers and streams. Additionally, it generates livelihood opportunities for local communities, and has created over 800 jobs since inception. Local businesses have also benefited from the cleaner environment and reduction in odors from the river.

Environmental Impact

Ecosystem health is improved by removing alien species, which normally crowd out native species. Removing pollution and blockages helps to improve water quality and reduce flooding.

Success Factors

Collaboration across city departments who were able to pull resources together is key to the success of the programme. Funding from external organizations has helped to upscale the programme and create a business case.


One of the main challenges involves ensuring that there are co-operatives in the city wards targeted for expansion.‍

Founded in


Project type
Founded by

The Roads and Stormwater Maintenance Department / eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality

Sub-national government
Founding Organisation Two

No items found.
Founding Organisation Three

Sub-national government
Operated by

The Roads and Stormwater Maintenance Department / eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality

Households reached
UN Sustainable Development Goal(s)
Last edited on:
May 11, 2023
Shared on:
May 11, 2023

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