It’s farmers vs environmentalists for Orange River’s bounty

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It’s farmers vs environmentalists for Orange River’s bounty

Scientists say river is overused for irrigation. Farmers say they’re an economic boon in a place where jobs are scarce

Senior reporter

The Orange River, SA’s longest waterway, is at the centre of a long-running drama pitting environmentalists against farmers.

Environmentalists and scientists say the river is being overused by farmers who are irrigating vineyards in a thirsty land. But local farmers have hit back, saying they are an economic boon in a place where jobs are scarce.

“Water usage has definitely doubled in the last 10 years,” said Craig Eksteen, owner of Upington-based adventure tour company Kalahari Adventures, adding he had mixed feelings about using the precious water resources to grow grapes destined for the export market...

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