Aspects of this Presentation Global perspective

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Aspects of this Presentation

  • Global perspective

  • Climate change

  • Water and the Economy and Services

  • Water Quality

  • Millenium Development Goals

  • IWRM and the National Water Act

  • River Health Programme

  • Local Context

Water on Earth

  • Total volume of 534 million km3

  • 97% oceans, only 3% fresh water

  • Of the fresh water: 79% ice caps & glaciers, 20% groundwater, 1% accessible surface water

  • Of surface water: 52% lakes, 38% soil moisture, 8% atmospheric vapour, 1% rivers and 1% water in living organisms

The Water Cycle

Water Cycle

  • Crucial to life and for the ecological balance of our planet

  • BUT

  • Excessive consumption of fresh water together with careless disposal of waste water and interfering with natural ecosystems threatens the viability of the water cycle and in turn every living thing on the planet!

Water Cycle

  • On a global average most freshwater withdrawals are used for agriculture (69%) followed by industry (23%) and municipal use (8%)

  • In SA 59% of water is used for irrigation, 25% for urban use, 4% for rural use, 6% for mining and industrial, 2% for power generation and 4% for afforestation

Climate change

  • SA average annual rainfall 450mm compared to world average of 860mm

  • Global climate change is a reality and serious threat to sustainable development

  • Impacts on water availability as well as water quality

  • Estimated that agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa could fall 33% in next 50-60 years

  • Coastal fishery output, especially along West Coast could drastically decrease due to warmer currents

Managing Climate Change

  • IWRM helps to protect water resource, secures future food supply & avoids potential regional conflict

  • Provides food security by facilitating agricultural production

  • Manage use to maintain water cycle – preserve resource & biodiversity

  • Minimise damage caused by flooding to infrastructure, homes & informal settlements

  • Minimise insect- and waterborne diseases

Water and Health

  • Water-borne diseases develop more readily in instances of reduced flow

  • In developing countries 80% of all illnesses are caused by water-borne diseases with Diarrhoea the leading cause of childhood death

  • Malaria kills more than a million people every year and costs Africa more than R84 billion in lost GDP

Water and the Economy

  • Water is critical to all sectors of the economy: agriculture, forestry, mining, power generation, bulk storage, recreation & provision of urban and rural water services

  • Economic value of water is measured by the number & value of jobs created by the water use or the amount of revenue generated

  • Also provide other services that are often not included in economic valuation.

Water Resource Services

  • Services and benefits provided by aquatic ecosystems:

  • Supply of good quality water

  • Transport and/or purification of biodegradable wastes

  • Recreation and aesthetic opportunities

  • Food production

  • Flood attenuation and regulation

  • Water-based transport


  • Strategically valuable resource

  • Less affected by droughts

  • Recharge cycle on a much longer time-scale

  • More protected storage than surface water

  • Value linked to dependency – high dependency means no alternative resource


  • SA has 255 estuaries (river mouths) along 3100km of coastline

  • Contribute to recreational and subsistence fisheries

  • Act as nursery areas for numerous species of fish

  • Impacted by urban development and domestic and industrial use


  • Areas that are seasonally or permanently inundated or saturated with water

  • Protect water resources through flood control, water storage, stream-flow regulation, drought relief, soil erosion protection and wildlife protection

  • Impacted by inappropriate urban and agricultural development and pollution

Availability and Water Quality

  • SA is an arid country with only 8,6% of rainfall available as surface water

  • Water availability will become a restriction on future socio-economic development

  • Therefore, good quality of critical importance

  • Water quality influenced by natural processes as well as human activities such as farming, urban and industrial development, mining and recreation

Water Quality Problems

  • Salinisation – excess salt from natural (geological) causes & human activities

  • Eutrophication – enrichment with nutrients N and P from fertilisers and sewage effluent and causes algal and weed growth

  • Micro-pollutants – mostly metals and pesticides from industrial & mining activities

  • Microbiological - contamination with faecal material

  • Erosion and sedimentation – loss of fertile agricultural soil, loss of reservoir storage etc.

  • Significantly increases treatment costs

The UN Millenium Development Goals

  • Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

  • Achieve universal primary education

  • Promote gender equality & empower women

  • Reduce child mortality

  • Improve maternal health

  • Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria & other diseases

  • Ensure Environmental Sustainability

  • Develop a global partnership for development

Environmental Sustainability

  • Natural water systems can experience severe floods and droughts and still recover to their original state

  • If over-used (over abstraction, pollution, physical destruction) this resilience is lost and the capacity to meet human demands is reduced or lost

  • Aim to balance water use with protection in such a way that water resources are not degraded beyond recovery

  • For both current and future generations

What is IWRM

  • “IWRM is a process that promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.”

  • (Global Water Partnership, 2000).

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that the nation’s water resources are

  • The purpose of the Act is to ensure that the nation’s water resources are

    • protected,
    • used,
    • developed,
    • conserved,
    • managed and
    • controlled,
  • in accordance with the National Water Resource Strategy

IWRM and the National Water Act

  • Resource Protection – reserve (basic human needs + ecological), classification & RQO

  • Establish Water Management Strategies and Water Management Institutions

  • Authorising water use

  • Implementing a National Pricing Strategy including Waste Discharge Charges

  • Establishing a National Monitoring System and a National Information System

Major Impacts

  • Over-abstraction of surface and groundwater

  • Modified flow (impoundments)

  • Farming activities

  • Alien invasive plant infestation

  • Invasive alien fish species threaten indigenous fish species

  • Nutrient enrichment from fertilizers and return flows

  • Overgrazing

  • Erosion & sedimentation of river banks

Management Actions

  • Reduce cumulative effect of small farm dams

  • Investigate environmental flow releases from water supply scheme

  • Improve regulation of abstraction – surface & groundwater

  • Clearing of alien vegetation

  • Improve condition of riparian zones

  • Manage sanctuaries for indigenous fish

  • Re-instate wetlands

  • Limit mining & infrastructural development in riparian zone

  • Manage water quality

Project proposals address the issues

  • Olifants River Wetland and Environmental awareness

  • Clearing Alien Invasive Plants

  • Olifants River Health and Conservation

  • Waste Recycling

  • River and Environment Clean-up

  • Groundwater Protection and Climate Change Monitoring

Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life

  • Water is life – Water is life


  • G McConkey

  • T Nyamande

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