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Monday, December 6, 2021

Cape Town Cuts Down Trees to Avoid Another Potential ‘Day Zero’

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Ayara Pommellshttps://thehub.news
Ayara Pommells is the Co-Founder of ShineMyCrown.com and EIC of Karen Hunter's TheHub.News. Contributor for GrungeCake and NMAAM #BlackGirlMagic pusha. Powered by herbal tea, candles and wax melts. Ambassador for Nigerian charities, Dreams from the Slum and The Iranwo Foundation.

The South African city of Cape Town is cutting down trees to save water, to save the country from hitting a severe drought.

While the move may seem drastic for some, three years ago, the city came close to reaching “Day Zero,” meaning Cape Town almost ran out of water completely. The city was just 90 days away from turning off the taps. South Africa relies on its rainwater. Non-native trees are responsible for using an equivalent of up to three months of Cape Town’s yearly water consumption.

“The pines are not indigenous to this area. They use up so much water – much more water than indigenous plants. This is the green infrastructure that we need to fix,” Nkosinathi Nama, coordinator for The Nature Conservancy’s efforts on behalf of the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, told the BBC.

Cape Town has proven itself vastly resourceful in the face of adversity.

In 2018, the city introduced several initiatives to avoid Day Zero, including advisories to shower for no longer than two minutes. Families were asked to use just 50 liters a day per person. Residents and businesses were also asked to subscribe to the slogan, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” and avoid flushing the toilet whenever possible.

The following year, the South African city’s dams were over 80% full.

Fast forward to 2021, and Nama insists that the tree-cutting initiative is crucial to preventing another water crisis. The non-indigenous pines were introduced to the region for the timber industry. But the timber industry’s gain has been at the detriment of the indigenous flora in Cape Town’s catchment areas.

“One of the lessons of Day Zero is that our water catchment areas need to be rehabilitated and restored so that they are resilient,” he said.

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