Deciduous fruit growers from Grabouw and Elgin will donate between 7.5 and 10 million cubic meters of water to the City of Cape Town. The growers opened their hearts and sluices to “give their share” and help the Cape Metro with the current water crisis.
After careful consultation, deciduous fruit growers from the Groenland Water User Association (GWUA), a private water network, decided to make the one-time donation. The water comes from private dams in the area.
According to Johan Groenewald, CEO of the GWUA, Grabouw and Elgin producers have enough water for the current season. “We are in a different catchment area than the City of Cape Town, and although our rainfall has been much lower than what we are used to, farmers in the area realised that we are currently in a more favourable position than the City of Cape Town. Thus, they decided to ‘pay-it-forward’. ”
Ross Heyns, chairman of the EGVV* Agricultural Association, said the donation could put farmers in a difficult position at the end of the current season. “We will be dependent on a good winter rainfall to replenish reserves for the next season.”
According to Groenewald, producers in the region have been pro-active with drought-planning and used water-wise irrigation techniques. “For example, producers apply better scheduling programmes and make sure all equipment is regularly checked for leaks. We also regularly inform all water users about the water scarcity. There is a clear shift among water consumers and everyone realizes water is a scarce natural resource. ”
In an effort to develop the deciduous fruit industry in the region, Elgin and Grabouw fruit growers have over several years built dams with private money. The water is managed in a sustainable and responsible manner. The GWUA does not provide water to the Vyeboom and Villiersdorp area because these farmers get water from Theewaterskloof Dam. The two water networks are not connected.
*Elgin, Grabouw, Vyeboom, Villiersdorp
Watch a video by HORTGRO’s Carmé Naudé about the water donation here: https://youtu.be/bVuYObhS6Pw