Drought-hit Cape Town should cut down ‘alien’ trees: study

The South African city of Cape Town, which nearly ran out of water this year, could beat future droughts by cutting down non-native trees including pine, acacia and eucalyptus, according to a study released Friday.

The tourist hotspot was weeks away from turning off all household and business taps before strict rationing and much-needed rain enabled it to escape so-called “Day Zero”, but severe drought remains a threat.

A report by the Nature Conservancy conservation group said that removing non-native water-hungry trees from catchment areas would be far cheaper than other solutions such as desalination plants.

“Desalination, recycling waste-water, and tapping groundwater supplies cost on average 10 times more to supply each litre of water than clearing invasive trees,” the report said.

It said two months of water supply each year could be saved by a $25 million programme over 30 years to clear away invasive alien trees in seven catchment areas that supply three-quarters of Cape Town’s water.

Source: Seychelles News Agency