DID YOU KNOW?
The Drakensberg Mountains in the Mpumalanga region form the water shed between rivers flowing to the Indian Ocean via the Thukela flow, and the Atlantic Ocean via the Vaal and Orange Rivers. One of the country's largest interbasin transfer schemes is downstream and it transfers water from the Thukela to the Vaal, where it eventually reaches the Gauteng province.
Enkangala loses 4% of its water to invasive alien plants like black wattle. That is billions of litres that could be used to grow crops or serve people's household needs.
Free flowing rivers
Interbasin transfer systems
Supplies water to
Acid mine drainage from coal and gold mining areas has had devastating impacts on water resources, with acidification of rivers and streams and elevated metal levels making the water unfit for human or animal consumption. 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. Only 8% of all coal deposits in South Africa occur in Water Source Areas. Coal is plentiful in South Africa while water is scarce, so coal mining should be kept out of these areas to ensure they continue to provide clean water to the people living downstream.
Unsustainable land use practices pose a major threat to ecosystems and the livelihood of local communities. It damages flood plains, river banks and wetlands, reducing the regulating capacity of catchments and increasing erosion and sediment loads. This raises the risk of flooding.
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 fertilisers and pesticides which can end up causing pollution. Farming is crucial for feeding the population and creating rural jobs but farmers need to use water efficiently and sustainably to ensure that the quality and quantity of water left in the rivers can sustain the people living downstream.
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