Pay now or pay BIG later: Challenges for 2012

22 December 2011

No-one wants to pay more, for anything.  What is worrying, though, is that we find it so much easier to pay more for things like cigarettes and snacks, than paying for improved water treatment now, that will lessen the risks of us becoming very ill in later life (Ok, the cigarettes will speed this process up – so its double jeopardy for the smokers!). Stupid? Dumb? Poorly-informed??  We cannot rely on political direction as politicians get elected by pandering to this reluctance. They win votes by promising simple, cheap solutions to complicated, expensive problems.  The national regulator, read “Water Affairs” is crippled by too many administrative bureaucrats, having sacrificed engineering experience and scientific specialization on the altar of affirmative action for so long (although I now see Trevor Manuel is suggesting this practice has gone on for too long – talk about a wake-up! – but then he also voted for the Secrecy Bill, so his credibility is a tad shaky).  Not that this is a major issue anymore in a country where politicians put party before nation, some going even further, the ‘self’ before ‘party’ before ‘nation’ approach! Read more »

CyanoAlert snippets

20 December 2011

DHEC using a helicopter to dose a lake with rotenone (Photo: Bill Harding)

New Zealand’s Lake Okaro has been dosed with a phosphorus-flocculant in an attempt to manage a blue-green algal bloom.  Dosing was applied by helicopter.  Lake Rotoiti was treated earlier in the year to prevent the bloom of toxic blue-green algae. Read more »

New Zealand’s plant of the year lives in wetlands

19 December 2011

New Zealanders have voted for a giant restio, Sporadanthus ferrugineus, as their plant of the year.  True to form, press reporting on this failed to include an image, so the one below has been sourced and referenced: Read more »

Upbeat about 2012

19 December 2011

Black-headed heron looks forward to 2012! (Photo: Bill Harding)

This black-headed heron is upbeat about what 2012 will bring him.  DH Environmental will be directing the re-establishment of a Western Cape wetland lost to farming a century ago – and which will provide a range of habitat for a variety of birdlife.

This yellow billed kite seemed happy about the news as well! (Photo: Bill Harding)

Swedish scientists use diatoms to confirm the predictable.

18 December 2011

Swedish scientists have used diatoms contained in lake sediments to “date” the predictable onset of nitrogen buildup, nitrogen related to human activities that is. Diatoms provide an extremely powerful ‘forensic’ tool for this type of analysis – and the only tool, based on records of biota, that will show change in water quality over time. Read more »

EU to ban detergent phosphorus

15 December 2011

In a significant move towards alleviating the pressures of eutrophication on water resources, the EU has decreed that laundry and dishwasher detergents will contained reduced levels of phosphorus as from 2013.  Some critics believe the move is too late in coming. Read more »

Guess whoooo’s back!

14 December 2011

In the garden this evening (Photo: Bill Harding)

Floating island clears ponds in two weeks!

14 December 2011

The pond before the BioHaven (Photo: Bill Harding)

These photos show the before and after images of two small, newly-created ponds that were completely turbid with fine clay particles- and had been for weeks.  Just two weeks after the installation of a 3.5 sq m BioHaven, the water is almost 100% clear and small plants are establishing on the bottom!

The water clarity two weeks later! (Photo: Bill Harding)

For more details about BioHavens, search this blog or see the relevant page on our website!

Second pond, same result! (Photo: Bill Harding)

Rietvlei’s toxin-producing algae – but who cares?

14 December 2011

Filaments of the blue-green alga Anabaena in Rietvlei (Photo: Bill Harding)

Last week Droplets reported on algal toxins measured in South Africa’s Rietvlei Dam, located east of Pretoria.  This yielded absolutely zero interest!  This is not a report that you will see in a South African newspaper, unlike the type of algal warnings routinely followed by Droplets.  Although many dams have regular toxic blooms, warnings are hardly ever posted.  Are South African’s so wrapped up in themselves that they are happy to remain (read “be kept”) unaware of health risks?   Read more »

China’s disappearing lakes

12 December 2011

Unpolluted waters provide life support (Photo: Bill Harding)

China is managing to lose around 20 lakes per year!  A report today by Associated Press of Pakistan claims that:

China has about 24,000 natural lakes, but they are disappearing at a rate of about 20 every year, according to a declaration released at an environmental forum. China’s natural lakes cover an area of 83,000 square km and play an important role in maintaining ecological balance, controlling floods and reducing droughts, according to a declaration issued at the First China Forum on Lakes in Nanjing on Sunday, the capital of east China’s Jiangsu province. Read more »