JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The Coca-Cola Foundation on Friday launched an investment of 1.275 million U.S. dollars to replenish up to 2,800 million liters of water back into nature to address water security in the country's key watersheds.
The Coca-Cola Foundation will invest to remove invasive alien plants from five main water catchment areas that feed major cities and towns across the country in a program called Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN).
"Apart from reducing water usage in our plants, we are investing in providing cost-effective solutions to managing water security in South Africa.," said general manager of the South African franchise of the Coca-Cola Company, Luis Avellar at the launching ceremony in Johannesburg.
Avellar said alien invasive plants consume millions of liters of water resulting in water shortages and permanent loss to an already stressed water system.
South Africa's Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy called on all stakeholders to partner government to clean invasive alien plants and replenish water in the country. She said that South Africa is an arid country, one of the 30 driest countries in the world.
"We need to work together to improve stream and river-related ecological infrastructure -- by clearing invasive alien plant infestations, especially in mountain catchments and riparian areas," said Creecy.
She said the government would also improve wetland and estuary-related ecological infrastructure through restoration and rehabilitation in the next five years. Creecy called on all stakeholders to partner government to get rid of invasive alien plants.
"We must ensure that our program to expand protected areas includes the formal protection of key catchment areas. Government simply cannot do it alone and we need active private sector, community and citizen involvement," said the minister.
Cocacola Foundation is working with various implementing partners including World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) South Africa, The Nature Conservancy, Endangered Wildlife Trust and Living Lands.