Rietvlei water quality timebomb still ticking… how much longer before it explodes …

27 March 2014

A murky future for Rietvlei? (Photo: Bill Harding)

A murky future for Rietvlei? (Photo: Bill Harding)

For quite some time now the problems of oestrogenic and other chemical compounds in Rietvlei, one of Pretoria’s potable water supply dams have been muttered about.  Too long in fact. A recent Water Research Commission report (not specifically referenced), which included the analysis of samples contributed by my recent three-year project at this dam, has now been more overt – as reported on Monday in the Pretoria East Rekord.  Actually, this should be headline news for all the Sunday dailies if we, as a country, were less focussed on toll roads, court cases and how much has been spent on the Presidents house.  Far greater sums are being wasted in the name of water resource management – and achieving very little.  The Rietvlei scenario seems to be an echo of similar issued rumoured to occur in Mpumulanga and elsewhere. Read more »

Offsets for allowing wetland loss: Playing God with Nature?

14 March 2014

Can we presume to allow more wetland loss than has already occurred? (Photo: Bill Harding)

Can we presume to allow more wetland loss than has already occurred? (Photo: Bill Harding)

One of the more controversial debates in ecology in recent times centers on whether or not it is possible to find offsets for allowing the loss of natural habit, be it ancient woodlands, areas of coastline or wetlands.  Impacts on the latter are often driven by mining demands – especially for the coal seams that are commonly located beneath wetland systems. Read more »