DID YOU KNOW?
The Outeniqua is also the land of beer and honey, as all of South Africa's hops are grown in two small catchments in this area. Rainfall on the top of the Outeniqua averages 900 mm per annum while rainfall in the Klein Karoo is less than 300 mm making the mountains an important source of water in the arid rain-shadow of the Klein Karoo.
The Outeniqua loses 6% of its water to invasive alien trees. One WWF project in that area has already released a billion litres of water back into the system by clearing these thirsty trees.
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.
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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