Water Wise Watch: Apr 2018
This month at Water Wise
"Autumn is here"
This year is absolutely flying by and I can't believe we are already into Autumn and moving quickly towards winter! Be sure to start preparing your garden for the first winter frost now. Most important is to ensure that all your frost-sensitive and vulnerable plants are protected when the first cold hits. Frost netting or hessian works well to protect tender plants. Don't forget to use mulch. Mulch is a wonderful 'all-rounder' in any garden, keeping the soil moist and cool in summer and acting as a blanket in winter. It is very Water Wise! Now is also a great time to plant winter seedlings such as violas, pansies, petunias, and primulas. You can also prepare your winter veggie garden by looking at planting cabbage, cauliflower, parsnips and broad beans. Fast-growing greens such as lettuce and spinach will work well now.
Autumn is also a great time of the year to fill your beds with rich, dark compost to ensure your soil is filled with nutrients before winter. Remember, you can enjoy your garden all year through!
International Earth Day
We also celebrate International Earth Day this month. Earth Day is the world's largest environment movement and will be celebrated on 22 April this year. The theme for this year's campaign is 'End Plastic Pollution':"From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering our beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet. In response, Earth Day 2018 is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics."
For more on this campaign, please visit www.earthday.org.
This month with Water Wise
BirdLife South Africa together with Rand Water (Water Wise), Department of Environmental Affairs, Joburg City Parks and Zoo and the Rare Finch Conservation Group officially launch the 2018 Flufftail Festival at the Johannesburg Zoo on 20 April 2018.
The educational initiative is aimed at creating awareness on wetlands, water birds and water. The event was first held in Sandton City in 2015, with subsequent Festivals taking place in Cresta Shopping Centre (2016) and Maponya Mall (2017). This year the event will be held at the Johannesburg Zoo as a platform to create an outdoor classroom to stimulate learning.
Part of the Flufftail Festival this year will see approximately 600 Grade 6 learners and teachers from 8 schools treated to “Manzi’s Water Wise Roadshow”, “Waxi the Hero” Puppet Shows and a range of fun educational activities in the zoo on 20 April. On 21 April the Flufftail Festival will be open to the public with opportunities to participate in the activities and to stand a chance to win a prize, all while learning about the importance of wetlands, water birds and water.
Water Wise News (Click the headings in bold below to read each article)
What’s causing the water levels in South Africa’s largest freshwater lake to drop?
"The Maputaland Coastal Plain is imbued with a rich biodiversity and the promise of adventure. The South African section extends across a band of about 70 km wide in the north, bordered by Mozambique, to a narrow area in the south at the mouth of the St Lucia estuary."
Are icebergs a realistic option for augmenting Cape Town’s water supply?
"With Cape Town staring down the barrel of the taps running dry, the question of the use of icebergs as an alternate freshwater source has once again begun to raise its head, around dinner tables, on street corners and in the press."
"We are in trouble. There’s no other way to put it. Our water is dwindling faster than ever before‚ and all three sectors – agricultural‚ industrial and municipal – are forecast to use increasing amounts of water in years to come. Much of the country’s water infrastructure is in disrepair. Dam levels are dangerously low."
From floods to drought, what we learned in Water Week
"Destructive floods in Gauteng and crippling drought in the Western Cape - two extremes that both played out last week during National Water Week. If it had been scripted, it could not have been more apt."
Parts of the interior are predicted to receive above-normal rainfall during autumn and late autumn (Apr-May-Jun), however it should be noted that the total rainfall in these areas drastically decreases in these two seasons. Early winter (May-Jun-Jul) sees the rainfall pick up in the far south western parts of the country, and with this there is also an indication of above-normal rainfall for these parts. Temperatures are expected to be lower in general during autumn and early winter for the north-eastern parts of the country. The south-western parts are expected to have higher temperatures on average throughout the autumn and early winter period.