The 318-year-old Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West has become self-sufficient in all its potable and nonpotable water needs‚ in one of the largest private conservation projects in SA.This is despite producing tons of wine grapes‚ maintaining 18 celebrated gardens‚ operating two restaurants and welcoming 100‚000 visitors every year.To commemorate World Water Day on March 22‚ the estate shared how it achieved this."When we initiated a long-term project in 2004 to clear dense alien vegetation‚ more than 80% of the farm’s natural veld was invaded by dense pine on the higher slopes‚ with acacia and eucalyptus species in the low-lying areas‚" says Vergelegen MD Don Tooth."Alien vegetation uses up to 60% more water than indigenous vegetation‚ so clearing it away has massively boosted water flow. The additional mountain run-off from the Hottentots Holland mountain range catchment area into the estate dams … has ensured that the estate now meets all its water needs independently."The c...

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