Another South African dam joins the polluted list

29 August 2014

Its green but you can drink it (?).  Conditions in a well-known South African dam.

Its green but you can drink it (?). Conditions in a well-known South African dam.

A report this week has added KwaZulu Natal’s well-known Midmar Dam to the growing list of South African reservoirs that are grossly-polluted (eutrophic and hypertrophic).  Research funded by the Water Research Commission (WRC) has shown that approximately 50% of the total water stored in South African dams is eutrophic.  In most of these cases reducing the problem pollutant loads would require massive interventionsRead more »

Algal Toxins in Water Supplies: It won’t happen here… or… will it?

19 August 2014

A couple of posts ago I mentioned the incident in Toledo (Ohio) that caused many to padlock (figuratively) their taps and take to their computers about the topic of algal toxins.  An article of a couple of days ago speculates whether water supplies in the Philadelphia area are even likely to produce toxic blue-green algal blooms. Based on experience I would hesitate to make such a sweeping statement.  Here are just three examples of why I say this: Read more »

Overlooking the Berg River Dam: nice from far but…

8 August 2014

 

Litter is strewn around the viewing areas above the dam,

Litter is strewn around the viewing areas above the dam, weeds abound through the paving

Drain covers have been stolen and broken glass lies everywhere.

Drain covers have been stolen and broken glass lies everywhere.

The recently constructed and much-lauded Berg River Dam is located in a beautiful part of the Franschhoek Valley.  The broad expanse of wetland and fynbos, downstream of the dam wall, line both sides of the road leading to the view point.  Sadly, one’s impressions are then dashed by the sight of the litter and broken bottles strewn around the parking area and the small amphitheatre.  Drain covers have been stolen, the drains are full of broken bottles that will be washed down the slope above the river – and there appears to be zero effort applied in terms of general maintenance.  Tyre marks suggest nighttime racing down the long straight road.  Sunset visits to what is otherwise a unique viewing point are probably something of a risk.

Of course if there was a return-deposit on all glass bottles, this might result in the IQ-bereft cretins from finding enjoyment in smashing them after they have drunk the contents – or is this too much to hope for?

And then one notices the impacts of ill-advised and all-too-hasty removal of the forests that previously stabilised the slopes of the mountains around the dam…so much so that the erosion has caused the end of the Robertsvlei Road to become blocked.  Irreparable damage that could have been avoided – the warnings were there before the work was done.

 

Erosion scars on the mountain slopes.

Erosion scars on the mountain slopes.

Floating solutions for unsightly ornamental ponds

8 August 2014

Not a thing of beauty and not an environment that aquatic animals can easily live in.

Not a thing of beauty and not an environment that aquatic animals can easily live in.

There is no earthly reason why your ornamental pond or dam should not look marvellous.  Who wants a dam that looks like the one above?  Muddy, murky, very little life (even the poor turtle was struggling) and with (and I use term generously) “an island”.  It is very difficult to create a stabilised, healthy and beautiful waterbody in an artificial environment unless biomimicking structures such as floating islands are employed.  But, with not too much effort, the effect below can be easily created! Read more »

Toxic algae in Ohio leaves thousands without water

4 August 2014

Sales of bottled water have soared in Toledo (Ohio) USA as algal toxins persist in the drinking water supply.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency for Lucas, Wood and Fulton counties and deployed the National Guard to make water available to the area.

Water from this area comes from the massive Lake Erie, long infamous for algal blooms and toxins.  A couple of years ago Droplets reported on an article entitled Lake Erie on Death Watch!  Lake Erie, once a lake management success story, has regressed in recent years, with an increasing incidence of toxic algal blooms threatening millions of water users. Read more »