'Clearing thirsty alien vegetation a cheaper way to help fill up Cape dams'

Alien vegetation still poses a significant threat to Cape Town's water supply.

Clearing the water-guzzling invasive alien trees is the most cost-effective solution to help with the City of Cape Town’s water resilience plan.

Read: Forget desalination, first clear alien trees to save CT's water supply - expert

This is according to Louise Stafford, the Nature Conservancy's water fund project director for South Africa.

Also read: Invasive alien vegetation a major threat to Cape dam levels - scientist

While city officials consider spending R8-billion on engineered solutions to boost Cape Town's water supply, Stafford says alien plant clearing will guarantee the most water return for the least cost.

According to Stafford, a total of 50 billion litres (two months' water supply for Cape Town) could be harnessed if 54 000 hectares of identified alien vegetation is cleared around the Cape's dams.

We identified the areas in the Western Cape water supply system where the higher return on investment can be achieved.

Louise Stafford, Director at The Nature Conservancy South Africa

The core areas above three of the main dams make up a total of 54 000 hectares, of which 12 00 are heavily infested.

Louise Stafford, Director at The Nature Conservancy South Africa

You can read Louise Stafford's full op-ed on The Daily Maverick website here.

Listen to her expert analysis on The John Maytham Show:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Clearing thirsty alien vegetation a cheaper way to help fill up Cape dams'


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