Global conservation group, The Nature Conservancy has launched the Greater Cape Town Water Fund to clear alien vegetation from water catchment areas in the region.

Research by conservation group has found that 55 billion litres of water is lost each year in the area due to invasive trees in water catchment areas.

The group says removing water-hungry trees such as pine, acacia and eucalyptus from catchment areas would be cheaper than other solutions such as building desalination plants.

The Western Cape experienced its worst drought in a century after three years of record low rainfall.

The Water Fund concept links private and public sectors around the common goal of using green interventions instead of new construction.



New research shows that clearing invasive plants could help solve Cape Town’s water crisis at less cost than other infrastructure alternatives. Image: The Nature Conservancy


Corporate partners, foundations and philanthropists have already committed close to R53 million rand to finance water security for a city that uses more than 500 million litres of water a day.

Water Funds Director, Louise Stafford says the water crisis has not passed, despite near-full dams.

“What we did through this fund is to do the science to show what’s needed to turn the losses into gains. We also looked at how much it will cost and to compare that with other options on the table to bring additional water into the system because it’s projected that Cape Town will run out of water anyway even without the drought by 2021.”

One of the sponsors of the project, Priscilla Urquhart says investing in the fund will help to find long term benefits to secure water.