‘Capacity building required if SA is to avert water crisis’

Engineering News, 25 February 2011

South African Institute of Civil Engineering water division chairperson Dr Chris Herold says that the county’s water crisis is not at this stage a result of demand outstripping supply, but a mismatch between water demand and supply, which is largely a man-made problem.

This is compounded by the fact that 30% to 40% of water is lost, which also raises the issue of efficient water use by all sectors.

Herold told the inaugural South African Water and Energy Forum (SAWEF) that role-players, such as the Department of Water Affairs, were losing expertise and institutional capacity at an alarming rate.

The SAWEF hopes to create space in which key players from all sectors can be brought together to engage with one another.

The organisation also wants to create a platform to support sustainable employment for the millions of unemployed people in South Africa.

“To solve the problem, we need to build essential capacity. We need political will, finances and capacity to address the problem,” said Herold.

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‘UNEP Year Book 2011: Emerging Issues in our Global Environment’

The 8th Edition of the UN Environment Programme flagship report, the UNEP Year Book 2011, examines global emerging issues and provides the latest environmental science. It also highlights major environmental events and developments over the past year, and presents the most recent data and indicator trends. The ocean has become a global repository for much of the waste we produce. Scientists are concerned that plastic debris in the ocean can transport toxic substances which may end up in the food chain, causing potential harm to ecosystems and human health. The Year Book also explores the wider implications of the use of phosphorus in food production. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient whose supply is limited. Since demand for fertilizer in agriculture rocketed in the 20th century, large amounts of phosphorus are flowing into the environment. New perspectives are also emerging on how biodiversity conservation can be integrated in forest management. Forests are receiving increasing attention, not least because of their role in climate change mitigation. Halting loss of forest biodiversity is essential if forests are to adapt to mounting pressures, including climate change and pest outbreaks. The Year Book’s overview of events and developments during 2010 shows how cutting edge science reveals new opportunities to mitigate climate change while improving air quality. Stimulated by technological innovation and green investments, renewable energy supply is growing rapidly. Continue reading

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