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YOUR conservation - OUR FOCUS

Water for life

South Africa’s freshwater biodiversity is under increasing pressure from climate change, overexploitation, pollution, and invasive species. This can have serious adverse consequences for ecosystem services, such as the provision of food and safe drinking water. The primary purpose of the Water-for-Life initiative is to raise awareness among members and the general public on the condition of freshwater resources in South Africa.

Water vir lewe

Suid-Afrika se varswaterbiodiversiteit verkeer toenemend onder druk weens klimaatsverandering, oorbenutting, besoedeling en indringerspesies. Dit hou uiters nadelige gevolge in vir die voorsiening van kos en veilige drinkwater. Die hoofdoel van die Water-for-Life inisiatief is om bewustheid onder die algemene publiek te skep oor die gehalte van Suid-Afrika se varswaterbronne.

Purpose

The primary purpose of this project is to raise awareness among members and the general public on the condition of freshwater resources in South Africa.

Method

This is done through:

  • using the miniSASS methodology to determine the general health of specific rivers and collecting a sample of macroinvertebrates (small animals) from the water
  • identifying sources that have a negative impact on water quality, and the potential measures to mitigate it
  • raising general awareness on the state of the water resources and using the survey results to raise public awareness on the quality of the water in a specific river
  • capturing results for a national dataset that various role-players can use

Doel

Die primêre doel van hierdie projek is om lede en die algemene publiek bewus te maak van die gehalte van varswaterbronne in Suid-Afrika.

Metode

Dit word gedoen deur:

  • die miniSASS-metodologie te gebruik om die algemene gesondheid van spesifieke riviere te bepaal en ‘n monster van makro-ongewerweldes (klein diere) uit die water te versamel
  • bronne te identifiseer wat ‘n negatiewe invloed op watergehalte het, asook die potensiële maatreëls om dit te verminder
  • algemene bewustheid te bevorder oor die toestand van die waterbronne en die opname resultate te gebruik om openbare bewustheid oor die kwaliteit van die water in ‘n spesifieke rivier te verhoog
  • resultate te verskaf vir ‘n nasionale databasis wat deur verskeie belanghebbendes gebruik kan word

Background

South Africa’s freshwater biodiversity is under increasing pressure from climate change, over-exploitation, pollution, and invasive species. This can have serious adverse consequences for ecosystem services, such as the provision of food and safe drinking water. According to the 2019 Water and Sanitation Masterplan, 56% of the 1 150 municipal wastewater treatment works and 44% of the 962 water treatment works are in a weak or critical state, with 11% being dysfunctional. The deterioration of municipal water treatment works contributes significantly to the ongoing pollution of river systems. Inefficient town planning and poverty leads to the proliferation of informal settlements with limited or no services to reduce risks of water pollution.

Government plays an important role in regulating activities to protect our water resources but lacks the capacity to do it. It is important that the general public understand where their water comes from and the factors that affect the health and quality of our freshwater resources. Water is crucial for our own survival, for the production of food, in driving the economy, and for the ecosystem to function. 

Evaluating water quality and the impact of mining activities, typically requires testing for mineral deposits, while different tests are used for sewage effluent. The cost and level of skills required to monitor systems also differ substantially between highly scientific assessments and citizen science projects.

For this project the miniSASS approach is used to monitor water quality. Members learn about freshwater ecosystems, monitor the river health within their communities, explore the possible causes of poor water quality, and find appropriate remedies to improve the quality of our water resources.

Agtergrond

Suid-Afrika se varswater biodiversiteit is onder toenemende druk as gevolg van klimaatverandering, oorbenutting, besoedeling, en indringerspesies. Dit kan ernstige nadelige gevolge hê vir dienslewering soos die voorsiening van voedsel en veilige drinkwater. Volgens die 2019 Water en Sanitasie Meesterplan is 56% van die 1 150 munisipale afvalwaterbehandelingsaanlegte en 44% van die 962 waterbehandelingsaanlegte in ʼn swak of kritieke toestand, met 11% wat disfunksioneel is. Die agteruitgang van munisipale waterbehandelingsaanlegte dra betekenisvol by tot die voortdurende besoedeling van rivierstelsels. Onbeplande stadsbeplanning en armoede lei tot ʼn verspreiding van informele nedersettings met beperkte of geen dienste om die risiko van waterbesoedeling te verminder nie.

Die regering speel ‘n belangrike rol om aktiwiteite te reguleer om ons waterbronne te beskerm, maar het nie die kapasiteit om dit te doen nie. Dit is belangrik dat die algemene publiek verstaan waar hul water vandaan kom en bewus is van die faktore wat die gesondheid en kwaliteit van ons varswaterbronne beïnvloed. Water is noodsaaklik vir oorlewing, vir die produksie van voedsel, vir ekonomiese aktiwiteite, en vir die funksionering van die ekostelsel.

Die evaluering van watergehalte en die impak van mynbou-aktiwiteite vereis toetse vir mineraalafsettings, terwyl verskillende toetse gebruik word vir rioolafloop. Die koste en vlak van vaardighede wat nodig is om stelsels te monitor, verskil ook aansienlik tussen hoogs wetenskaplike assesserings en burgerwetenskap projekte.

Vir hierdie projek word die miniSASS-benadering gebruik om watergehalte te monitor. Lede leer oor varswater ekostelsels, monitor die gesondheid van die rivier in hul gemeenskappe, ondersoek die moontlike oorsake van swak watergehalte, en vind toepaslike oplossings om die kwaliteit van ons waterbronne te verbeter.

Join the initiative

Who can participate

Anyone can learn how to collect a miniSASS sample in a river. Members can join an existing activity at their own Branch or contact the project coordinator about initiating such a project in their community.

What to expect

  • The initiative will be explained to interested members. Children can also get involved providing that their parents or guardians gave consent.
  • Training will be provided. The Branch will supply the resources for implementation in group context.
  • Participants will need lifejackets (if you cannot swim or when taking samples from rivers where strong current prevail), organic soap, sunscreen, gumboots or waders, a net or sieve, a pencil, timer, magnifying glass, tweezers, plastic container or white tray, and the identification key (equipment will be provided by the Branch).
  • Once a sample of the invertebrates has been collected from the river, the different bug groups can be identified. The score that is recorded, will indicate the health class of the river, ranging across five categories from natural to very poor.
  • This information can be used to create awareness about river health and stimulate initiatives to affect change.

Sluit aan by die inisiatief

Wie kan deelneem

Enigeen kan leer hoe om ‘n miniSASS-monster in ‘n rivier te versamel. Lede kan by ‘n bestaande aktiwiteit by hul eie Tak aansluit, of die projekkoördineerder kontak om so ‘n projek in hul gemeenskap te begin.

Wat om te verwag

  • Die inisiatief sal aan belangstellende lede verduidelik word. Kinders kan ook betrokke raak mits hul ouers of voogde toestemming gee.
  • Opleiding word verskaf. Die Tak sal die hulpbronne vir implementering in ‘n groepskonteks voorsien.
  • Deelnemers sal reddingsbaadjies nodig hê (indien jy nie kan swem nie of tydens die neem van watermonsters uit riviere met sterk strome), organiese seep, sonbrandmiddel, gumboots of waders, net of sif, potlood, tydhouer, vergrootglas, pinset, plastiekhouer of wit bakkie, en die identifikasiesleutel (die Tak voorsien die toerusting).
  • Nadat ‘n monster van die ongewerweldes uit die rivier versamel is, kan die verskillende insekgroepe geïdentifiseer word. Die telling wat aangeteken is, sal die gesondheidsklas van die rivier aandui, wat wissel oor vyf kategorieë van natuurlik tot baie swak.
  • Hierdie inligting kan gebruik word om bewustheid oor riviergesondheid te skep en inisiatiewe te stimuleer om verandering teweeg te bring.
Enquiries / Navrae:

Conservation in action

The Overberg Branch starts its Water for Life project in Stellenbosch. Students used the miniSass-method to determine the state of the water in the local river.

Die Overberg-tak begin met hul Water-vir-Lewe projek in Stellenbosch. Studente het die miniSass-metode gebruik om te bepaal hoe gesond die plaaslike rivier is.

Click on image to enlarge

Tuinroete Branch and a group of children monitor the state of the river in their home town, George. They learn how ground use affect the catchment area and that certain insects are an indication of river health. This was the start of our Wate for Life project. Well done, Gerhan Archer of Tuinroete Branch for organising this outing.

Tuinroete-tak monitor die rivier saam met kinders om te bepaal hoe gesond die rivier in hul tuisdorp, George, is. Hulle leer hoe grondgebruik in die opvanggebied waterkwaliteit beïnvloed en dat sekere insekte ‘n aanduiding kan gee van riviergesondheid. Hierdie is die begin van ons Water-vir-Lewe projek. Welgedaan Gerhan Archer van Tuinroete-tak wat die dag gereël het.

Click on image to enlage

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MiniSASS - Stream Assesment Scoring System

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