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River health information collected over a period of time also allows us to track changes in river health and therefore our progress towards (or away from) a defined goal. Many aspects of our survival and economic growth are critically affected, directly or indirectly, by the health of our rivers and by the decisions that change their ability to deliver a range of goods and services.
The RHP therefore focuses on selected ecological indicator groups that are representative of the larger ecosystem and are feasible to measure.Each province has a network of implementers who work together, usually under the leadership of a Provincial Champion.Through actively working together and sharing skills and resources, implementation teams can achieve goals that would not be possible for any one organisation working alone.The RHP supports this management process by providing river health information that will be needed by both managers and the participating public to make decisions.Although the RHP is not specifically mandated by any South African act or parliament, RHP activities and outputs are strongly aligned with legal requirements: The Water Act requires that the health of aquatic ecosystems is monitored and the RHP monitoring results can in turn, be used to support certain legal principles contained in the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and the National Water Act.
Some goods and services provided by rivers are important for human survival, such as water for drinking and subsistence fishing.