Specialising in
Grey Water
and
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Pesticide threat to biodiversity underestimated

Pesticides may kill off water insects and other small aquatic life by as much as 42%, according to an analysis of German, French and Australian rivers and streams published on Monday.

Dragonflies are particularly vulnerable to pesticides

The study in US journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is the first […]

Wasting water threatens food security

The wasteful way in which water is used for crop irrigation is a threat to world food security, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) warned.

In less than 20 years we will have 40% less freshwater than we need to ensure basic water, food and energy security

“If we do not reform, 50% of […]

Increased pressures on water could make it less available

By A.D.McKenzie
Source: IPS

As non-governmental organisations question the relevance of the World Water Forum being held here this week and slam its “corporate” nature, the United Nations says that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical.

Sub-Saharan Africa could experience severe freshwater scarcity by 2020

The fourth edition of the triennial World Water Development Report (WWDR), which brings together the work of 28 U.N.-Water members and partners is being officially launched Monday at the Forum. It stresses that water “underpins all aspects of development” and needs to be a key element in global policies and regulations.

Titled ‘Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk’, the comprehensive report paints a somber picture of what could result from failure to deal with water issues. Experts warn of increased political conflicts over resources, the endangering of future availability and reduction in economic and social welfare.

“We want to be optimistic but there are increased pressures on water that could make it less available for normal consumption, and that’s the bleak picture,” said Dr. Olcay Ünver, coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme which produced the report.

“The other side is that there’s a lot that leaders of government and civil society can do, especially by working together to ensure sustainability,” he told IPS.

The stakes are high as more than one billion people lack access to safe water, and about 1.4 billion lack access to electricity (which can be generated through hydropower). With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, demand for water will surge over the next decades, experts say. Continue reading Increased pressures on water could make it less available

More than half of SA ecosystems are threatened

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 21 Nov 2011

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 high levels of threat results particularly from intense land pressures.

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.”

The team, who spent three years researching and compiling the Atlas, found tributaries overall were in a “far better state” than mainstream rivers.

“They also support the sustainability of hard-working rivers further downstream by diluting poor quality water and flushing pollutants. Only 35% of the length of mainstream rivers is in good condition, compared to 57% of tributaries. Continue reading More than half of SA ecosystems are threatened

Global ecosystems disrupted by decline of large predators

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 July 2011

The decline of large predators and other “apex consumers” at the top of the food chain has disrupted ecosystems across the planet.

The removal of predators like sea otters has consequences for all of us

The finding is reported by an international team of scientists in a paper in this week’s issue of the journal Science.

The study looked at research results from a wide range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems and concluded “the loss of apex consumers is arguably humankind’s most pervasive influence on the natural world.”

According to lead author James Estes, a marine ecologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, large animals were once ubiquitous across the globe. They shaped the structure and dynamics of ecosystems.

Their decline, largely caused by humans through hunting and habitat fragmentation, has far-reaching and often surprising consequences, including changes in vegetation, wildfire frequency, infectious diseases, invasive species, water quality and nutrient cycles.

Plummeting numbers of apex consumers are most pronounced among the big predators, such as wolves on land, sharks in the oceans, and large fish in freshwater ecosystems. There also are dramatic declines in populations of many large herbivores, such as elephants and bison.

The loss of apex consumers from an ecosystem triggers an ecological phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade,” a chain of effects moving down through lower levels of the food chain. Continue reading Global ecosystems disrupted by decline of large predators