DID YOU KNOW?
The Black Mfolozi River is one of South Africa's flagship rivers. Interestingly, the largest user of water in the area is the irrigation sector, predominantly sugarcane and forestry.
Free flowing rivers
Supplies water to
Unsustainable land use practices pose a major threat to ecosystems and the livelihood of local communities. Land use that damage flood plains, river banks, and wetlands reduce the regulating capacity of catchments and increase erosion and sediment loads in rivers as well as the risk of flooding.
Large Scale Plantations
Badly managed tree plantations cause serious environmental and social problems through the clearing of natural forests, destruction of wetlands and invasion by alien plants. Additionally, because they are often alien plant mono-cultures they consume large amounts of water.
Acid mine drainage (AMD) from coal and gold mining areas has had devastating impacts on water resources, with acidification of rivers and streams, elevated metal levels and consequent fish die-offs. Many of our catchments are already heavily polluted by mining and an estimated R30 billion is required to clean South Africa’s nearly 6000 abandoned mines.
Large Scale Cultivation
Large scale cultivation of mono-crops such as sugar can reduce the amount of water available in rivers, wetlands and aquifers. These crops use more water than the natural vegetation and so stream flow is reduced and they require fertilizers and pesticides which can end up causing pollution. Sustainable farming of these crops needs to accommodate buffer zones around rivers and wetlands.
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