DID YOU KNOW?
The Boland Mountains provide 97% of Cape Town's water supply.
The big six dams that supply the city with water are all in or very close to this water source area. The Breede River, the largest river in the Western Cape, and a key resource for economic activities in the region, flows out of the area.
It loses 4.1% of its water to invasive alien trees and, were it not for previous alien clearing, Cape Town may well have hit Day Zero during the recent drought crisis.
Free flowing rivers
Interbasin transfer systems
Supplies water to
Alien Invasive Vegetation
Invasive alien trees that have spread through large parts of our country consume more than 2.9% of available water resources. In some catchments, water losses are higher than 25%. These losses contribute to biodiversity loss by crowding out indigenous species, devastating surrounding ecosystem.
Unsustainable land use practices pose a major threat to ecosystems and the livelihood of local communities. It damages flood plains, river banks and wetlands, reducing the regulating capacity of catchments and increasing erosion and sediment loads. This raises the risk of flooding.
Large Scale Cultivation
Large scale cultivation of mono-crops such as sugar can reduce the amount of water available in rivers, wetlands and aquifers. These crops use more water than the natural vegetation and so stream flow is reduced and they require fertilisers and pesticides which can end up causing pollution. Farming is crucial for feeding the population and creating rural jobs but farmers need to use water efficiently and sustainably to ensure that the quality and quantity of water left in the rivers can sustain the people living downstream.
Fires are a part of the natural lifecycle of the Fynbos, savannah and grasslands but a higher frequency of fires doesn't allow enough time for natural ecosystems to recover. The impact is exacerbated by the presence of invasive alien trees that burn hotter and longer, causing greater damage to property and the environment. Higher intensity and frequency of fires means that precious soil is eroded and more easily washed away.
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