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Volumes & issues
Volume 15, Issue 5, 2016
Source: Water Wheel 15, pp 14 –18 (2016)More Less
When schistosomiasis - commonly known as bilharzia after its discoverer, Dr Theodor Bilharz - first came to the attention of South Africa's medical professionals, it was thought to affect mainly boys. After initially being recorded in 1863 in Port Elizabeth, numerous case reports until the turn of the century (when the disease disappeared from the south-eastern Cape) indicated that it was primarily boys between the ages of 3 and 16 who were infected with the parasitic blood fluke Schistosoma haematobium - a species of trematode flatworm - after swimming in local waterbodies.
Have our provincial aquatic scientists become critically endangered? : capacity development - featureAuthor Dean ImpsonSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 20 –23 (2016)More Less
South Africa is a country blessed with extraordinary levels of biodiversity (ranked third in the world) and is the only country to have one of the world's six floral kingdoms (Cape Floral) contained entirely within its borders. There are also a wide variety of inland aquatic ecosystems present, including seven of the world's freshwater eco-regions; namely the Cape Fold, Karoo, Western Orange, Amatolo-Winterberg highlands, Drakensberg- Maluti highlands, Southern Temperate Highveld and Zambesian Lowveld.
Novel treatment solutions turns industrial wastewater into commodity : industrial water treatment - featureSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 24 –27 (2016)More Less
When Ernest Shackleton and his polar exploration team were forced to abandon their ship in Antarctica in 1915, their survival hinged on two special properties of ice. Firstly, ice is unique in that it is less dense in its solid state than in its liquid state, which means it floats on water - so the stranded men were able to camp on drifting ice floes for over five months. Secondly, as seawater freezes, the salt ions are rejected from the ice crystal lattice and become trapped in pockets of brine, before slowly leaching out into the seawater below under the effect of gravity. This natural tendency to reject impurities means sea ice that is several years old can be melted and used for drinking water - a key factor in keeping Shackleton's team alive until their rescue.
Author Karen GroblerSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 28 –30 (2016)More Less
Half of South Africa's population - some 27 million people - live below the global poverty line. Government grants are often the only means of survival in poor rural communities. However, the grants fall far short of being able to cover the basic cost of nutritious food. The experience of hunger is related to many different forms of deprivation. There is widespread 'hidden hunger', in the form of micronutrient deficiencies, growing rates of overweight and obesity and - perhaps most concerning - stunting and overweight tendencies among small children.
Author Gina ZiervogelSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 31 –33 (2016)More Less
The impact of drought has been felt acutely this season over southern Africa, as El Nino hit hard. Perhaps this is what we might expect under future climate change conditions and so we had better learn how to prepare for it: more frequent years that record less rainfall than usual, along with the associated crippling impact on livelihoods and the economy. This is particularly the case in semi-arid regions of Africa and Asia. These climate change hotspots are highly dynamic systems that already experience harsh climates, adverse environmental change and a relative lack of natural resources. People here are often further marginalised by high levels of poverty, inequality and rapidly changing socio-economic, governance and development contexts. This requires an effective response. In northern Namibia and eastern Botswana, research is already underway into what's currently working and not working in relation to managing climate impacts. A major regional project is seeking ways to reduce vulnerability and develop longer-term climate adaptation responses.
Author Lani Van VuurenSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 34 –37 (2016)More Less
"Besides a scarcity of rain, high temperatures have resulted in a lack of fodder for the animals in the Kruger National Park. Both artificial dams and natural and man-made pans have been reduced to mud, while large-scale deaths occurred among animals, such as buffalo and baboons." While this scene sounds eerily familiar, it is actually a (loosely translated from Afrikaans) exert from the Kruger National Park's Annual Report of 1991/92. Drought has always been a natural part of the Kruger National Park and runs like a golden thread throughout its 90-year history. While the park's climate can be described as semi-arid (average annual rainfall for the park is only around 550 mm) this can vary considerably from year to year, and multi-year oscillations have been observed that vary from above average rainfall years (with increased likelihood of floods) to below average rainfall years (with increased likelihood of droughts).
Some observations on the water resources development and management transition in Israel : international water resources - featureSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 38 –41 (2016)More Less
Water supply and sanitation in Israel are intricately linked to the historical development of the country. Through its geographic and political situation, Israel cannot rely on external sources of water. Because of the limited size of the country and a policy of unlimited Jewish immigration, the country's land and water resources have had to be developed optimally. The vision of 'turning the desert into a cultivated land' had to be put into practice. The Terra satellite image of the Middle East in Figure 1 shows the lush, green vegetation along the Mediterranean coast and surrounding the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel and stands in marked contrast to the arid landscape all around. More than 240 million trees have already been planted and even the barren hills of the northern Negevare now dotted with a string of miniature oases of greenery.
Author Jorisna BonthuysSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 42 –45 (2016)More Less
The complex set of risks and uncertainties associated with drinking and wastewater systems requires risk governance to beat the heart of water service providers. It is required by South African law, yet many municipalities are still struggling to integrate risk governance into their business, including their water and sanitation operations. And although risk management practices are undertaken in many municipal water departments, these are often just focused on operational activities related to water quality and quantity (such as the Blue Drop, Green Drop and No Drop programmes, water safety and wastewater risk abatement planning). Risk management has not necessarily translated into risk governance at a more strategic level.
Counting the drops - SA's water resource assessment project completed : water resource management - featureSource: Water Wheel 15, pp 46 –47 (2016)More Less
Each water resource assessment study builds on the technology and knowledge gained from the one that preceded it. The latest study, which covers South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, builds on the previous assessment (WR2005) by using updated and new data and information as well as new tools and technology.
Source: Water Wheel 15, pp 48 –49 (2016)More Less
Sound familiar? But what is so important about washing your hands anyway? While kids don't always listen when parents tell them to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet, or when they come inside from playing it is actually a very important thing to do. Hand washing is by far the best way to prevent bacteria from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick.
Source: Water Wheel 15 (2016)More Less
In celebration of Mandela Day on 18 July, the Water Research Commission (WRC) along with its partners, the Department of Water and Sanitation, Friends of Faerie Glen Nature Reserve, Adopt Moreleta Forum, Friends of Moreletaspruit, and the City of Tshwane launched a clean-up operation on the banks of the Moreletaspruit. The river transects the eastern suburbs of Pretoria. Basic water quality tests were also performed on the river using the miniSASS method, a citizen water health monitoring tool in which the health of a river is determined by the community of macro-invertebrates sampled. As a sign of its commitment to water resource protection, the WRC has adopted the Moreletaspruit catchment, in which it now resides given its new premises at Lynnwood Bridge.