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

River quality forces event change

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 March 2010

Organisers of a second East London swimming event have decided to change the venue over fears of the quality of water in one of the city’s major rivers.

Gonubie River Estuary. Photo by 'philrickerby'.

Janine Vorster of the Mako Masters Swim Club said they had been closely monitoring the results of the Dispatch River Watch campaign and were all set to host the Mako Masters 5km Swim Challenge in the Gonubie River at Tidewaters on April 10. “But the results (from River Watch) on March 6 (5280 CFU/100ml), were enough for us to call an emergency committee meeting and we unanimously decided to change the venue to Wriggleswade Dam, following on the success of the Merrifield Mile.”

Earlier this year the popular Merrifield Mile, which forms part of the Buffalo City Tri-Challenge, was moved from the Nahoon River to Wriggleswade Dam. One of the reasons given for the swim’s relocation was the fears surrounding the quality of water in the Nahoon River, where the event had taken place for seven years.

“With last week’s astronomical count (24 000 CFU/100ml) – understandably due to the sewage leak – and public perception about East London’s rivers, we are satisfied that we have made the right move from Gonubie, even though it means added PR in advertising the change of venue and date,” said Vorster.

The Mako Masters Swim Challenge will now take place on April 11 at Wriggleswade Dam. Continue reading

Vaal flood gates to be opened

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

The flood gates on the Vaal dam will be opened because of the ongoing rainfall and will lead to higher water levels along the Vaal river on Wednesday, Gauteng police warned.

Vaal Dam is located some 56 km south of Johannesburg

“Because of ongoing rainfall that impacts on the Vaal river water system, it has become a necessity for the relevant authorities to start with a co-ordinated opening of floodgates of the Vaal dam,” Superintendent Eugene Opperman said.

“This will bring about a significant rise in water levels along the Vaal river between the Vaal and Bloemhof dams.

“Authorities request that no water craft of any nature should be operated on the stretch of river between [those] dams until further notice…

“It will also be rather dangerous for people to go too near to the river’s embankments during this time.”

He said boat owners who keep their crafts in sheds along this stretch of river should check on their boats as they could be damaged by the higher water level.

Source: SA Weather and Disater Information Service