Cape Town – The Western Cape is a water scarce region and current climate change projections suggest a 30% reduction in annual rainfall by 2050, and an increasing frequency and intensity of droughts, according to the provincial department of environmental affairs and development planning.
The department’s biodiversity and coastal management director Marlene Laros told the standing committee on environmental affairs that water will increasingly limit the economy of the Western Cape in a business as usual future and therefore investment in the provincial ecological infrastructure was vital.
“The Western Cape is a water scarce region. Current climate change projections suggest a 30% reduction in annual rainfall by 2050, and an increasing frequency and intensity of droughts
“Our options to augment our water supply systems within the Western Cape were explored, and the most effective option is the eradication and proper management of invasive alien plants within Western Cape catchments.”
The committee was being briefed by officials from the department and its entity CapeNature on the topic of invasive alien vegetation clearing and the current status of alien invasive species clearing programmes across the province, as well as the criteria for prioritising certain areas over others.
Committee chairperson Andricus van der Westhuizen (DA) said the briefing was as a result of a visit by the committee earlier in the year to the Holsloot Weir project where they learnt that the area was one of the province’s priority areas for the clearing of invasive alien species.
Committee member Peter Marais (Freedom Front Plus) said given the fact that 57% of the country’s strategic water resources are found in the Western Cape and that 90% of the water catchments in the province are managed by CapeNature, there should be a far greater focus on environmental issues in the province than in any other province.