Stating the obvious

21 November 2011

The Department of Water Affairs has again pointed out the obvious, highlighting how bad things are in our water resources here in South Africa:

Speaking at the Pretoria launch of the Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas recently, Deputy Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi warned that over half of South Africa’s river and wetlands ecosystems are threatened, Times Live reports.

“Deterioration in the health of ecosystems negatively impacts on their ability to continue providing these beneficial ecosystem services,” she said, adding “[t]here is no doubt that South Africa’s freshwater ecosystems are under increasing pressure.”

According to the Times Live report, Mabudafhasi said ecosystems, like municipal services, played an essential role in supporting development and economic prosperity and the Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas is designed to provide the first comprehensive assessment of areas in the country that were most important for sustaining the health and continued functioning of freshwater ecosystems.

South Africa’s water resources and adjacent ecosystems are in a terrible state, with only 35% of the total length of the country’s mainstream rivers still in good condition.

The recently released Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas reveals that 57% of river ecosystems and 65% of wetland ecosystems are threatened.

Mandy Driver, the SA National Biodiversity Institute’s manager of biodiversity policy, said the Biodiversity Assessment published seven years ago highlighted the poor state of many river ecosystems, with the majority of the country’s large rivers rated “critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.

“We needed a strategic intervention to help sustain and conserve freshwater ecosystems, and the Atlas is the result.”

Droplets hopes that maybe it’s a Magic Atlas……??  A strategic intervention is going to need a lot more than this!

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