Strides to save water source

Heather Dugmore

THE first Protected Environment in the Karoo has been proclaimed by the Eastern Cape’s Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism MEC,Mcebisi Jonas.

Called the Compassberg Protected Environment (CPE) it is a critical water catchment area spanning 42000ha.

Eight livestock and game farmers came together to form the CPE, which is situated between Nieu Bethesda and Middelburg in the Sneeuberg mountain range with the aim to conserve this critical water catchment area that includes one of South Africa’s natural treasures: the Compassberg.

The CPE holds the watersheds and upper catchments of the Klein Zeekoei River, the Klein Brak River and the Diepkloof River. These feed into the Orange River, the Great Fish River and the Sundays River respectively – three of the most important river systems in South Africa. It supplies clean water to the surrounding towns of Middelburg, Nieu Bethesda, Graaff-Reinet and Richmond.

“It’s a major source of water in a water scarce region, and the conservation, restoration and good management of this upper catchment is very important,” the executive director: biodiversity conservation of the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA), Dr Dave Balfour, said.

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