Invasive alien vegetation clearing taking place at Steenbras. Picture supplied by City of Cape Town
Invasive alien vegetation clearing taking place at Steenbras. Picture supplied by City of Cape Town

City of Cape Town’s R62m deal with US NPO to clear alien vegetation approved

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Apr 8, 2021

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Cape Town - The City council has approved a R62 million Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the City and the US based global environmental non profit, The Nature Conservancy (TNC).

The money from the City will be used to clear alien invasive plants in rugged mountainous catchment areas that feed important water supply dams for Cape Town over the next three years as outlined in the City’s resilience strategy against climate change.

The City’s contribution will be administered by TNC, who will match the City’s contribution rand-for-rand through contributions raised in the private sector and from philanthropy,

The project includes clearing alien invasive plants on the high angle slopes in the upper reaches of the Wemmershoek, Steenbras and Berg River Dam catchments.

Mayco member for water and waste Xanthea Limberg said: “Clearing of alien invasive plants is a key component of the City’s water strategy.

“By removing water-guzzling plants from key parts of the dam catchment, our surface water supply is maximised as more rain water can flow into the dams.

“While thousands of hectares of invasive trees have been removed to date, it is not enough.

“To turn the water losses into gains, 54 300 hectares have to be cleared.”

Previously, the City and TNC worked together to establish the Greater Cape Town Water Fund in 2018.

Meanwhile, regarding current levels of the major provincial dams, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said: “The average levels remain good for this time of the year and we are grateful for the good levels in the City dams.

“We hope to see similar good rains in the months to come but we urge consumers to continue with responsible water use even in areas where dams may be fuller than others.”

According to a report from Bredell’s office, this week the Voelvlei dam stands at 64%, down 1.5% from last week but 10.3% more than it was at the same time last year.

The Berg River dam and the Theewaterskloof dam have both fallen 1% in the past week standing at 73.8% and 75.6% respectively.

The Clanwilliam dam is at 25.5% down 2.6% the previous week but 12.5% higher than it was exactly a year ago.

Cape Argus

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