29 April 2011

From Vietnam comes the sad story of the decay of the Nha Trang Bay as a result of uncontrolled wastewater disposal from various sources.  In Uganda, as if Lake Victoria was not already in a huge mess, comes a report of the damage and abuse done to one of the large wetlands (Kinwataka Swamp) that has all but negated the water quality polishing function.

Concern has once again been raised (see here on this blog) about cyanobacteria having endocrine disrupting characteristics.

In Oregon, the army is once again on the watch for algal blooms as spring snow melts start to fill Lost Creek Lake.  The contentious documentary “Bloom”, about Lake Champlain, will be screened this week.  Hopefully it will make it onto YouTube or somewhere in due course.

How long will South Africa remain apathetic?

29 April 2011

Time for another rant.

The recent and apparently senseless shooting of a woman in her car by a policeman makes me wonder just how long South African’s intend to remain apathetic to the blatant abuse of our country by individuals who have no real qualifications or experience for the positions they occupy?  In the seventeen years since the new beginning, with all its grand hopes and promises, we have seen the near-wholesale and systematic abuse of just about every government institution (education, health, railways, roads, security, defence, water – the list is endless), with the exception of SARS (which has to function or there would be no money to misappropriate). Read more »

History of the Cape Flats Vleis (Part V): Some early maps

27 April 2011

Location, location, location! (Photo: Bill Harding)

Over the years I have collected many maps of the Cape Flats and will include some of them here and later in this series.  The first one (below) shows the Cape Flats still divided by the substantial dunes, and with Zeekoevlei having two distinct parts, with Rondevlei separate to  the west.

Zandvlei and environs, circa 1780

Read more »

History of the Cape Flats Vleis (Part IV): Langevlei

27 April 2011

Langevlei is a little-known vlei in Retreat.  It is the last of a series of small vleis that formed the original headwaters of the so-called Sand River, now a stormwater drainage system that extends far north of Retreat (see earlier post, here).

Location of Langevlei (Retreat, Cape Town)

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History of the Cape Flats Vleis (Part III): More on Zeekoevlei

26 April 2011

Early shorelines of Zeekoevlei

Here’s some more pictorial information on the pans for the Wynberg Disposal works that I discussed in a previous post (see here).  These images taken by Ian Pelteret show the pan on the eastern shore of Zeekoevlei, and the initial system of pans away through the dunes towards the coast. Read more »

History of the Cape Flats Vleis (Part II): Rietvlei

24 April 2011

This is the second contribution to this short series and in itself is a short contribution dealing with Rietvlei (see here and here for earlier renditions).

North-east Rietvlei

A good summary of the history of Rietvlei is contained in the ECRU Report on this vlei system (downloadable here).  I want to address a couple of aspects of the lesser-known history. Read more »

Driving with your daytime brain switched on!

24 April 2011

Having a blog allows one to have a little rant now and again.  I am becoming increasingly convinced that people are becoming more and more stupid and losing their ability to apply common sense.  Perhaps this has something to do with the micro-managed society that we live in and where mastering the TV remote is the pinnacle of technological prowess? Very few people seem to take any time to think about how things work or should work. Read more »


23 April 2011

Milkweed flower (Photo: Bill Harding)

Some confused reports of poor water quality from Melkbosstrand (South Africa) – “may be due to high algae levels”. If they used an AlgaeTorch they would know immediately how high….! Why speculate when you can have an answer in minutes?  By the time they have sent a sample to Pretoria or whereever…

Read more »

Romeo’s Wish

20 April 2011

If you do nothing else today, visit this site and make a rescued dog’s life easier!


AlgaeTorch tested in Cape Town

15 April 2011

Measuring algal chlorophyll at Rietvlei

Yesterday saw the testing of the bbe-AlgaeTorch at 8 locations in and around Cape Town.  The instrument performed to specification and produced excellent results from replicate samples at each site (see Table).  Moreover, it was possible to test 8 locations within three hours!  The testing was able to show the presence and contribution of cyanobacteria in lakes such as Zeekoevlei, Princess Vlei and Rietvlei, as well as measure the very low or zero levels in the clean (low nutrient or plant-stabilized) systems such as Little Princess Vlei. Read more »