Amid worsening drought in the Eastern Cape, the roll-out of a new alien invasive plant clearing project in the Kouga and Kromme River systems near Kareedouw and Joubertina is set to substantially increase the water flow to three of Port Elizabeth’s supply dams while bringing much-needed job creation to the Langkloof region.
Implemented by Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB), the one-year National Resource Management project has employed 61 contractors and 800 workers to clear 950 densely populated hectares along the Diep River and its tributaries.
According to GIB’s Area Manager, Edwill Moore, eradicating these alien invasive species will bring some relief to the drought-stricken region by increasing the flow of water into the Impofu Dam, as well as the Kouga and Churchill dams downstream.
“This on-going drought has placed enormous pressure on our storage dams. Alien invasive trees – in this case, mainly black wattle – consume huge amounts of water, which would otherwise flow into these dams,” said Moore.
“Clearing alien invasive plant species is one of the most cost-effective ways of increasing our water supply.”
Kouga Dam, a major supply dam in the region, currently stands at 28 % full, while extraction from the Impofu Dam, which is the second biggest, has been halted after its water level dropped to a critical 17.5%.