Has our ability to manage water quality eroded too far?

20 May 2011

Have our skills eroded like these poorly-farmed hillsides near Villiersdorp?

It seems that not too much notice has been taken, yet, of Cosatu’s threatened action over water issues.  Possibly due to the residual fall-out from the elections but there does seem to be a mechanism whereby water issues get buried, such as the article at the bottom of page 6 of today’s Business Report. Read more »

Cosatu threatens action over water crisis!

19 May 2011

At long last a large organization has seen fit to demand that the Water Crisis issues be addressed (see here and here and here and here and here).  Kindly waiting until the day after local elections, “Cosatu warned on Thursday that it would “mobilise” its members for protest action if the government did not address the looming water crisis soon“. Cosatu appears to have done its homework, stating that “among other things, there was poor sanitation and water service delivery, eutrophication (excessive nutrients) in dams and rivers, failing waste water treatment infrastructure and acid mine drainage“.  Perhaps this will convince the national regulator to now take on board the advice that this blog and others have been providing for so long, engage with their critics and accept the help that is being offered.  The DWA does not have the skills or the vision to deal with this alone.

The appropriately-named Sudbury Water Group (Can) continues with its phosphate reduction awareness activities (see also here).  Also an appeal to reduce P loading to Lake Michigan.


19 May 2011

The threat to the environment resulting from budget cuts (see example here) remains in the news.  Politicians and bean counters do not always understand the value of focussed monitoring – but the scientists are often to blame here as the data are equally-often not translated into management-speak, leaving added-value a questionable concept. Designing efficient monitoring programs is difficult and often devolves to  the ‘easiest to measure’ stuff.  Many users of monitoring data have very poor or no basic foundation in chemistry, so struggle to understand anything but single values measured against published ranges of data.  They struggle as much to convince the funders of the needs for monitoring and monitoring suffers as a result. Read more »

Talk on Alzheimers and Algae

19 May 2011

Bats, Berries and Blue-Green Algae

Dr Bill Harding has been invited to address the False Bay Women’s Probus Group on 9 June.  The subject of his talk, “Bats, Berries and Blue-Green Algae”  will discuss the science behind the links between toxins produced by blue-green algae and neurodegeneration in humans (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Dementia Complex and Alzheimers).  This talk forms part of a series entitled ‘Water Quality: The Descent into Crisis‘, focussing on the dangers of sustained inattention to surface water quality in South Africa. See here for more details.




17 May 2011

Eastern Cape coastal wetlands north of Morgan Bay (Photo: Bill Harding)

The sixth largest lake in America, Lake Champlain, is under serious threat from sustained eutrophication.  The movie “Bloom: The Plight of Lake Champlain” has served to initiate a lot of debate and public attention to this problem. “Bloom,” the first production of the educational nonprofit BrightBlue EcoMedia, attributes the lake’s algae problem to three main sources: storm water, agricultural runoff and aging municipal water treatment facilities. The film explains that these three sources have led to an abundance of phosphorus in the lake. Read more »

Koi pond-sized floating islands available soon!

16 May 2011

Floating Islands ideal for small ponds (Photo: Bill Harding)

Floating Islands come in all shapes and sizes, with  the smallest units being ideal for small, ornamental garden and office ponds.   Read more »

The BenthoTorch for Rivers

16 May 2011

Nutrient enrichment (eutrophication) in rivers is a big problem but more difficult to measure than in lakes and dams.  This is because the algal response occurs as attached algae, on rocks or sediments or other surfaces. The quickest and easiest way to measure this is by using the bbe BenthoTorch. Read more »

Press Release: AlgaeTorch

16 May 2011

The bbe AlgaeTorch


The biggest problem facing our water resources is an accumulation of wastewater-derived nutrients (eutrophication), which leads to excessive and often toxic algal blooms.  The commonest way to determine how much algae is to measure the concentration of chlorophyll-a, a photosynthetic pigment involved in photosynthesis. Read more »

Why CyanoAlert?

16 May 2011

Blue-green algae degrade so many waterbodies (Photo: Bill Harding)

I get a lot of queries about why I host CyanoAlert if there is so little information from South Africa.  Well, that is exactly why.  CyanoAlert is a service funded entirely by DH Environmental in an effort to sensitize the general public to the causes, hazards and consequences of eutrophication.  I do this by posting examples of the level of awareness of these problems in other countries, and how many countries are doing so much to offset the problem.  Water quality and eutrophication are not priority issues in South Africa, but they should be.  I remain pleasantly surprised by the positive responses to this blog received from all around the world!  South Africa used to be a world-leader in the field of eutrophication and cyanobacteria, sadly all almost completely lost now.  CyanoAlert is one means of filling in the gaps!

DH Environmental Consulting on Twitter

15 May 2011

The joys of twittering (Photo: Bill Harding)

We are expanding our social media presence by establishing ourselves on Twitter. Our blog has proven extremely successful, doubling its unique visitor tally month on month. We receive, however, a great many queries from people outside of the water industry and scientific realm and have contracted the social media company, The Squashed Tomato to manage this new venture.

You can follow us @DHEnviroConsult.