DID YOU KNOW?
The Mpumalanga Drakensberg area is an important supplier of fresh water to the Olifants Catchment. Unfortunately the area is impacted by acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines. Coal is a major cause of climate change with the release of carbon.
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 Plantations
Plantations are mono-cultures made up of the same alien tree species (pine, eucalyptus and wattle) that cause massive environmental damage across the country. These trees are grown to provide wood for construction and raw materials for the paper and pulp industry but they consume huge volumes of water while they grow. Badly managed plantations allow these species to escape and grow wild, making them a source of invasive alien trees. Poor forestry practices lead to the clearing of natural forests and the destruction of wetlands which have negative social and environmental consequences.
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