Mission 1 : Securing SOUTH AFRICA’s Water

South Africa is losing billions of cubic metres of freshwater to invasive alien vegetation every year.

The Fact: South Africa is a water-scarce country. 50% of South Africa's freshwater is supplied from 8% of its surface.

The problem: Thirsty alien invasive vegetation is consuming billions of cubic metres of our life-sustaining water - at a rate of the Vaal Dam ever year.

The Impact: This is drying up our rivers with devastating effects on our people and economy, threatening food security and resulting in natural vegetation loss.

The Solution: Survey these areas, measure the effect of the invasive vegetation, then work with government and local NGO's to implement effective measures.

Mission 1

Protecting our Water [Invasive Alien Control]

Invasive Species are drying up our rivers and depleting our nation & environment of between 1.4 and 3.3 billion cubic metres of our life-sustaining water every year. By better understanding this problem, we can make the right decisions to manage this crisis. FlyH2 Aerospace has designed an long range environmental survey aircraft capable of gathering data on the population, density, spread and retreat of both invasive species and biocontrol agents.

South Africa's rich biodiversity depends on its 464 millimeters of average annual rainfall. And so do we. South Africa is a water-scarce country and, with a huge development backlog to address, needs urgently to secure our water future.

Alien invasive vegetation is responsible for the loss of nearly 100 millimeters of that 464 mm every year, drying up many of our streams, wetlands and rivers; like the Kaaimans river in Wilderness. In comparison to other regions, and expressed in relation to total land surface areas, South Africa unfortunately has several times more invasive alien species of trees per square kilometre than anywhere else.

But programmes and projects from government and NGOs such as WWF South Africa, have had success in managing these invasions through the use of biological control (biocontrol) agents. These agents are natural predators or pests of the invasive species, and can halt or even roll back the spread. A wonderful example is how prickly pear cactus, which infested vast portions of the Eastern Cape in the 19th Century, was knocked back by introduction of a beetle. In supplementing programmes like Working for Water, biological control programmes have been very successful in preventing spread of weeds such as cacti and, especially, thirsty wattles.

In order to be more effective, we require detailed data, measured over time to watch the spread and retreat of biocontrol agents and their effect on invasive alien vegetation. The only way to collect this information is via aerial surveys. And these surveys should start by focusing on our national Strategic Water Source Areas, that 8% of our land surface which supplies us with 50% of our water.

FlyH2 Aerospace has designed an environmental survey aircraft capable of flying long missions over our expansive country, gathering data on the population, density, spread and retreat of both invasive species and biocontrol agents, in a highly cost effective and low impact manner. Our platform employs cutting edge technology and is built and assembled entirely using South African technology.

Help us to help partners such as government, research institutions, and leading conservation organisations like WWF and the Endangered Wildlife Trust to gather the data they need in order to make the correct decisions to better protect our rich biodiversity and natural infrastructure.

By sponsoring a square kimometer, you are buying more water for our precious indigenous flora, rivers and estuaries, and ultimately for south Africa.

Mission 2

Protecting our Water [Pollution Control]

Pollution of our fresh water supplies from farms, factories and urban settlements is killing the fish in our rivers, poisoning our people and deadening large portions of the ocean near river mouths. We’re at the moment assessing our most important rivers, fisheries and urban impact areas so we can decide where our aerial surveys will have the greatest impact. The results of the survey will allow us to analyse the types of pollution so we can identify their sources, allowing authorities to manage this crisis.

We expect our research to be completed by April 2015. In the mean time, please direct enquiries to info@flyh2.com or support our Invasive Alien Control Mission Above.