US Bill to tackle algal blooms has very low chance of being enacted

24 February 2014

Paint-like patterns formed by blue-green algae (Photo: Bill Harding)

Paint-like patterns formed by blue-green algae (Photo: Bill Harding)

US Senate Bill S1254, introduced on June 27th, 2013, was passed in the Senate on 12 February 2014 and now goes to the House of Representatives for enactment consideration.  The chances of this happening are considered to be low, in fact just 14%.  Apparently only 23% of bills that passed committee in 2011-2013 were enacted.

The Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act would expand a federal task force, require it to create a program to study the problem and an action plan to address it. The task force also would study the causes of hypoxia, or the depletion of oxygen in water. One cause of hypoxia is mass die-off of blue-green algae [Source]. Read more »

Is IWRM (Integrated Water Resources Management) sometimes a barrier to effective water resource management?

23 February 2014

Photo: Bill Harding

Photo: Bill Harding

The concept of Integrated Water Resource Management, nowadays commonly known by its acronym IWRM, has been around for a very long time.  Nowadays the IWRM paradigm, if we can call it that, dominates within political and institutional decision making processes.  But has this been healthy?  Has, in fact, the integration of specialisations across all water resource components been comprehensive enough to derive a truly holistic and, moreover pragmatic, IWRM protocol?  From my own experience I do not believe that this is the case.  In a paper just published in the International Journal of Water Resources Management, authors Giordano and Shah, present a cogent argument that echoes some of my concerns.

Their abstract reads as follows (you download the whole paper if you so wish): Read more »

Greyton Common: DEADP Minister agrees with residents concerns

22 February 2014

Evening over the Greyton Common (Photo: Bill Harding)

Evening over the Greyton Common and the Qobos River Bridge (Photo: Bill Harding)

During August 2013, residents of Greyton became aware of an arrangement, between the Theewaterskloof Municipality (TWKM) and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, whereby a substantial portion of the commonage along the Qobos River, was sold to provide land for a land claim.   As the land and the adjacent river and wetland environments are of considerable ecological importance due to their type and rarity, and in the absence of any apparent EIA process or public participation, concern was voiced via a letter to Minister Anton Bredell of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning. Read more »

Eyes playing tricks on you?

21 February 2014

Channels or ridges?  (Photo: Chris Cawood)

Channels or ridges? (Photo: Chris Cawood)

Now and again along comes a photograph of a completely natural scenario that, in two dimensions, appears juxtaposed.  In this photograph, are these sandy ridges or hollows?  There’s something in the picture which, if you focus on it, allows you to see the true 3-D picture.