Siegwalt U Küsel
Prof L Arch (SA) Reg. no. 20182 ASAPA no. 367
Principal Landscape Architect & Archaeologist
The Apies River is inextricably linked to the history of the City and its people. Historically it was the very presence of this river system and the associated productive soils that enticed people to settle along the banks. Over time as our dependence and reliance on the river waned, we have forsaken the river and reduced it to little more than a conduit for stormwater.
Although the Apies River is recognised as a critical open space resource (Tshwane Open Space Framework 2005) the system has been substantially degraded and impacted by urbanization. While it is widely recognised that an open space system potentially brings many benefits, what is less widely acknowledged is that if the responsibilities for the management and maintenance of the space are not clear, the space becomes invaded and overgrown and perceived to be unsafe. The space may then become more of a problem than an asset.
According to the River Health Programme, State of the Rivers Report (2005: 24) the ecological functioning of the river is marginal/low due to the fact that in- tream habitat integrity, riparian zone integrity, riparian vegetation integrity, fish assemblage integrity, macro-invertebrate integrity and water quality are all regarded as poor. The key drivers of change have been the high levels of urbanization and the associated changes in hydrology as well as morphological changes of the Apies River. According to this report the urgently required management responses must seek to:
- Restore and rehabilitate channel morphology and riparian vegetation;
- Control urban runoff, which is impacting on water quality;
- Reduction solid waste pollution.