School collects environmental data for city

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 April 2010

The Rondevlei Nature Reserve, located about 20 kilometres outside of Cape Town, and learners from Sid G Rule Primary in Grassy Park are engaged in a collaborative conservation education project.

Rondevlei wetland. Photo by 'timparkinson' under creative commons licence.

The project’s goal is twofold: the pupils learn about ecosystems, biodiversity and conservation, while helping to collect important environmental data that the City of Cape Town can use to assess water health throughout the municipal area.

It is also part of a bigger vision developed by Dr Mark Graham, aquatic ecologist and director of environmental consultancy Ground Truth, aimed at mobilising communities to better look after their rivers and other water resources.

“Due to increased utilisation of water sources, our rivers are more and more under pressure in terms of pollution. Our water quality shows fairly worrying statistics,” Graham said.

To protect water resources, municipalities usually implement a range of initiatives, such as improving their solid waste management and sewerage systems as well as investing in wetland rehabilitation and conversation. But without community involvement, water conservation schemes will never be completely successful, believes Graham.

He therefore came up with the idea of asking schools to adopt a section of a river that they monitor on a regular basis. The data the pupils collect could be fed to the water affairs department of the municipality in which the school is located. Continue reading