Eco-warriors highlight threat of alien vegetation to water sources
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Samir Randera-Rees 50% of the population, 64% of the national economy and 70% of irrigated agriculture depended on water source areas. “These are vital for water, food, energy and economic security,” said Rees who spoke at a Webinar hosted by the WWF.
Only 11% of the water-source areas are formally protected. No legislation explicitly prioritises the water-source areas and these areas are starting to degrade from mining, invasive alien trees or human developments.
Various environmental partners gathered on the webinar with the aim of spreading awareness and education.
Water Stewardship Programme project manager Klaudia Schachtschneider said water-source areas covering the Upper Breede River Valley faced key threats mainly from alien plants and the clearing of these plants should be a top concern to make water available at the bottom catchment areas. Large-scale cultivation was another threat.
“In the last financial year, the Upper Breede River Valley has allowed job creation for 10850 people with invasive alien clearing, 4500 jobs were created in restoration and 1430 youth attended Junior Land Care events. These are some of the achievements, Schachtschneider said.
She added that private contributors were needed to assist with the clearing of 470hectares of wetland on forestry land. It is not possible to get government funds to clear forestry land and private funding was needed to help clear parts of the wetland with high conservation value.
“These parts are currently overrun with alien invasive plants and 94 people are being employed to clear this space,” she said.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the total average dam level for the province had risen slightly more than 4% week-on-week.
“We are happy to see dam levels increasing as winter rain starts falling. We hope to see more rain in weeks and months to come. Cold weather has also seen lots of snow on higher-lying areas.
“This is a good sign with melting snow in the spring boosting dams further.”@Sukainaish