1 February 2011

A somewhat pointless article appears today in what appears to be a local government newsletter entitled “Service” – a tad ironic as ‘service’ seems to be what’s missing from local government, unless you live in the Western Cape.  The article I refer to is entitled “Freshwater A Global Crisis” and creates the impression, perhaps not intentionally, that we need not worry about our problems because they are cosmopolitan (!).  This type of argument, in a generally poorly-informed society, can be very damaging as it can be clutched at by the naysayers.  The article goes on to list various internet-sourced factoids about the global water situation.

Down in New South Wales, the previously-reported Red Alert for Carcoar Dam remains in force.  Also in NSW, the cause of the recent fish deaths, thought to be due to algal toxins, remains unconfirmed.

The remainder of the articles from today and yesterday’s news deal with improving water quality  in lakes and rivers and the resistance to the Florida phorphorus restrictions. Short-sighted, short-term interests continue to threaten long-term survival.  For the St Croix River (see post on Lake St Croix earlier in this blog), a substantial but necessary reduction in phosphorus levels is being called for.  In Iowa, the City of Keokuk (good name) has a 20-year plan to reduce discharges of raw sewage.  In Hopewell (Virginia), water treatment managers are giving some thought to their cyanobacterially-produced taste and odour problems – they should come to SA for some practical advice!

In Canada, urgent attention is being given to the plight of the variously-threatened, yet magnificent, Athabasca River Basin.

On a non-algal or pollution note, the The Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (RBG Kew) have completed a working list of all land plant species! The Plant List includes 1.25 million scientific plant names, of which 1.04 million are names of species rank. Regrettably, there is  no coverage of algae (perhaps 30,000 known species)!  So, theres still work to do!

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