International Day of Forests (March 21) celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of forests. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, observed for the first time in 2013.
The objective of this day is to encourage international, national and local communities to organise activities involving forests and trees.
Protected areas (PAs) are a key intervention for conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services. A major challenge for PAs is the control of invasive alien plants that spread into PAs from surrounding areas such as forestry plantations. The links between invasions and different plantation sources are poorly understood, making it difficult to assign responsibilities for control costs.
"Enormous progress has been made on removing invasive alien vegetation in the catchment area around Wemmershoek Dam", says Executive Mayor, Patricia de Lille, City of Cape Town.
"Invasive alien vegetation around the dam and in the catchment areas uses a huge amount of water and clearing this vegetation will assist the city to conserve water that would have otherwise been used by these trees", adds de Lille.
Over the last year, a City of Cape Town-appointed contractor has cut down over 50 hectares of pine trees from a city plantation used for commercial and industrial purposes. The remaining 110 hectares will be cleared over the next year. Removing these remaining plantations will improve stream flow into the dam and could secure an extra week or month worth of water supply for the city.
At Wemmershoek, the saving will be approximately 1 million litres per day when all pine trees are removed.
A process is now under way to ensure that we harvest the remaining plantation in a shorter period in order to minimise the potential loss of water. We will also be in contact with neighbouring land owners to ensure that the catchment area outside our boundary stays free of alien vegetation to secure a sustainable run-off into the Wemmershoek Dam.
This project forms part of our water resilience programme aimed at building up the city’s dam storage amid a persistent drought crisis.
This week dam storage levels declined by 1% to 36,8% and only 26,8% of that water is useable.
Collective water usage by the residents of Cape Town currently stands at 582 million litres per day. This is 82 million litres above the target usage of 500 million litres per day that we require to see the city through the drought.
We appreciate the water-saving efforts of Capetonians and I would like to thank Team Cape Town for their assistance. There are still many more residents and businesses that have to come on board to enhance our water-saving efforts. We can only make it through this drought with the help of each and every resident doing their part while the City works as fast as possible to bring additional supply online.
The City has implemented a successful vegetation control programme for more than 10 years and there are resources to continue the programme in the future.
As the City works on expediting all additional supply schemes, it is vital that water-saving by residents and businesses continues so that we can boost our joint efforts to beat the drought. Only by working together, will we ensure that we do not run out of water.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Media enquiries: Xolani Koyana, Spokesperson for the Executive Mayor – Patricia de Lille, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 5007 or Cell: 071 740 2219, Email: