Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 43 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Coagulation efficiency of <i>Dicerocaryum eriocarpum </i>(DE) plant</b>]]> A study was conducted to investigate coagulation efficiency of the plant Dicerocaryum eriocarpum (DE) in the removal of turbidity from raw water. Widespread poor land use practices contribute to high turbidity in river water, making turbidity management or removal critical, particularly before the water is used for drinking or subjected to chemical treatment. In this study, mucilage from DE was extracted with deionized water and different chloride solutions. A coagulation efficiency of 99% using modified mucilage coagulant was achieved. The modified mucilage of potassium crude extract and sodium crude extract displayed higher coagulation efficiencies than unmodified mucilage of deionized water crude extract. An increase in coagulant dosage and initial turbidity influenced the coagulation efficiency of DE coagulant. A large reduction in turbidity levels of the treated water samples resulted in an improvement in water quality. <![CDATA[<b>Impact of temporary desiccation on the mobility of nutrients and metals from sediments of Loskop Reservoir, Olifants River</b>]]> South Africa is prone to droughts and is heavily dependent on stored water resources. Few studies in South Africa have investigated the impact of drought on water quality when rainfall resumes and reservoir sediments are rewet. Other research has shown that several negative impacts may occur with rewetting, including eutrophication, and acidification with increased metal solubility. In this study, the impact of drying and rewetting sediments on the mobility of nutrients and metals is explored using sediments from Loskop Reservoir. Rarely exposed sediments were collected from three sites, dried at 35°C for 36 days, and then rewet under aerobic conditions. Filtered water samples were collected on Days 1, 2 ,4, 7, 11 and 16 following rewetting, and analysed for NH4+, NO3-, NO2-, total N, total P, PO4(3-), dissolved Al, Fe, Mn, and SO4(2-). Results were expressed as mass/m², and were compared to reference (non-drought) treatments that were maintained under saturated conditions. Acute toxicity tests were performed using Daphnia magna to establish if toxic effects were associated with changes in water quality following sediment rewetting. Following rewetting, elevated SO4(2-) indicated the mobilisation of acid from sulfide oxidation, with an associated reduction in pH. Nitrification was evident as high quantities of organic N and NH4+ were initially released, followed by increases in NO2- + NO3-. Total P increased, but PO4(3-) reduced. This was attributed to complexes formed between PO4(3-) and Fe (FePO4) and Al (AlPO4). Amounts of Fe and Al released were lower following rewetting due to the formation of relatively immobile (hydr)oxides. In contrast, Mn increased substantially reaching maximum values > 2 300 mg/m² (14 000 µg/L). There were no acute toxic effects observed to D. magna. This study highlights the potential for acidification, mobilisation of nutrients, SO4(2-), and Mn following rewetting of reservoir sediments under aerobic conditions. This information may be incorporated into reservoir and catchment management plans in the form of revised water quality guidelines and a better ability to predict how drought impacts water quality in our stored water resources. <![CDATA[<b>Metal concentrations in intertidal water and surface sediment along the west coast of the Cape Peninsula, Cape Town, South Africa</b>]]> The concentrations of metals in intertidal water and surface sediment were measured at Scarborough, Hout Bay, Green Point, Milnerton and Bloubergstrand in Cape Town, South Africa, between Autumn 2010 and Autumn 2011. In terms of Pollution Load Index (PLI) of metals in the sediment, the sites were ranked in the following order: Bloubergstrand > Hout Bay > Green Point > Milnerton > Scarborough. Seasonally, metal loads were highest in Autumn 2011 and lowest in Autumn 2010. The higher metal concentrations reported in sediment suggested that both localised anthropogenic and natural weathering were the sources of metals recorded. Surprisingly, metal concentrations were similar to those reported in 1985 for the same sites, suggesting that the intertidal environment in Cape Town has not been increasingly contaminated with metals. The findings provide a baseline of metal concentrations that can be used for further research in the region. <![CDATA[<b>Generation of reactive oxygen species in relevant cell lines as a bio-indicator of oxidative effects caused by acid mine water</b>]]> Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and resultant oxidative stress (OS) has been implicated as a pathway of toxicity in animal species exposed to pollutants. The gills of aquatic animals and the liver and kidneys of mammalian species are specific cellular sites of toxicity. Oxidative effects of acid mine drainage effluent (following passive and active treatment) impacting a natural stream were assessed using selected cell lines. Levels of pollutants such as heavy metals in acid mine drainage (AMD) effluent can be quantified following treatment, but it is unknown whether this is associated with equivalent reduction in toxicity. ROS production by AMD untreated (U) and after treatment (T) was quantified in a fish gill cell line (RTgill-W1) and in two mammalian cell lines (C3A human liver and Vero monkey kidney). ROS production was determined using the oxidant sensitive fluorogenic probe, 2', 7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (DCFH-DA) following exposure to U and T, AMD water. Treatment of AMD water caused reduction in levels of Al, Zn, Fe, Si and Mn while levels of Cr, Cu, Ar and Hg remained unchanged. A dose-dependent increase in ROS production was observed for U and T. ROS formation decreased from 14% to 4.5%, 16.4% to 7.2% and 25.3% to 17.7% in the RTgill-W1, C3A, and Vero cell lines exposed to 100% AMD water, U and T. The presence of Mn and/or other ions in treated water and subsequent ROS formation indicates that water could still be toxic to cells and requires further processing. The DCFH-DA assay in several cell lines can be used to rapidly bio-monitor quality of AMD water related to formation of ROS and subsequent cellular effects. However, cut-off levels for cellular toxicity must be established to ensure safety of this water for aquatic animals and for animal and human consumption. <![CDATA[<b>'Irrigation by night' in the Eastern Cape, South Africa</b>]]> This paper addresses water-related issues in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Irrigation development and providing water for human consumption have been key factors in the country's rural development planning, notably during the postapartheid era when the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) and Water Services Act and Free Basic Water of 1997 became effective. By exploring the use of water in rural villages in the central Eastern Cape, the paper addresses the conceptual and practical limitations of the provisioning of water for human consumption and irrigation, in particular, and how this is being handled by various implementing agencies. The paper draws attention to the importance of 'irrigation by night' which refers to unplanned and 'unlawful' water-use practices. People in villages 'unlawfully' re-appropriate piped water for irrigation purposes to produce food and generate some income. The paper proposes a shift away from the rigid conceptualisations that currently form the backbone of planning to instead adopt a multiple-use system (MUS) approach which is more in tune with local practices currently observed in rural villages of South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Circulation induced by diffused aeration in a shallow lake</b>]]> Field surveys were carried out to investigate the surface jet flows and the resulting circulation patterns generated by diffused aeration in a shallow lake. In conrast to previous studies, the experimental conditions included point-source bubble plumes with very high air flow rates (100-400 L/min) relative to the shallow water depth (1.5 m). The results indicate that the surface jet velocity can be described by linear profiles. The decay of this velocity with distance displayed a similar behaviour to that reported in the literature, but the surface jet spread much faster under the present conditions. Combining our results with published data allowed for the generation of dimensionless correlations for the velocity and depth of the surface jet. A good agreement between the total circulation flow rates predicted by using the proposed correlations and integral modelling was also obtained. Lastly, a simple returning flow model was proposed to describe the circulation flow patterns induced by the bubble plumes. The results were also applied to assess the impact of circulation on vertical algae migration, which is important for water quality management. <![CDATA[<b>The hidden hydrology of Groenvlei, a lacustrine wetland on the southern Cape coast of South Africa</b>]]> Following Parsons' (2009) challenge of the hypothesis that Groenvlei is sustained by discharge from the underlying Table Mountain Group Aquifer, research was undertaken to better understand the hydrology of Groenvlei. Using a daily water balance model coupled to Darcian flow calculations it was possible to show that direct rainfall and evapotranspiration losses were the key hydrological drivers of the system, with groundwater playing an important but secondary role. It was found that Groenvlei is not endorheic and that S pan measurements are best upscaled to lake evaporation using coefficients offered by Midgley et al. (1994). The reed collar plays an important role in the functioning of the lake, but is dormant during winter. The outcome of the research demonstrated that sound conceptualisation using all available data, information and knowledge remains a critical aspect of any hydrological modelling. The improved understanding of the hydrology of Groenvlei is expected to facilitate a better understanding of the nine Ramsar wetlands located on similar, but more complicated, hydrogeological settings elsewhere on the South African coastline. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of the productivity and technical efficiency of smallholder irrigation in Ethiopia</b>]]> Agriculture is the mainstay of Ethiopia's economy, contributing more than 40% to GDP and providing a livelihood to about 80% of the population. Agriculture is dominated by smallholders growing predominantly rainfed cereals, making economic performance dependent on rainfall availability. This study used the stochastic frontier production function to analyse the productivity and technical efficiency of 4 different agricultural production systems in Ethiopia; namely, irrigated seasonal farms on traditional irrigation systems, irrigated seasonal farms on modern communal irrigation systems, rainfed seasonal farms for farmers who have access to irrigation and rainfed seasonal farms for farmers who do not have access to irrigation. Simple random samples of farmers were selected from lists of farmers. The sample of farmers constituted 122 from the traditional irrigated sites, 281 from the modern communal irrigated sites and 350 from the control rainfed sites of farmers without access to irrigation. For those farmers, from both traditional and modern communal irrigation, who also had access to rainfed farms, their rainfed farms were included in the sample of rainfed with access to irrigation. This sample constituted 434 farmers. The marginal productivity of land on modern communal irrigation systems shows that this is the smallholder irrigation option that should be developed by the Government of Ethiopia. However, the marginal productivity of land in the 'rainfed without access to irrigation' category is higher than that of the traditional irrigated system. Thus additional developed land should be put under 'rainfed without access to irrigation' before it is put under traditional irrigation; otherwise it should be developed into modern communal irrigation. The average technical efficiency for the modern irrigated system was estimated to be about 71%, whereas this was estimated to be 78% for the 'rainfed without access to irrigation' system. There are potential gains to be realised in improving efficiency in these two systems. <![CDATA[<b>Quantifying the economic water savings benefit of water hyacinth <i>(Eichhornia crassipes) </i>control in the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme</b>]]> Global freshwater resources are threatened by an ever-growing population and continued economic development, highlighting the need for sustainable water management. Sustainable management must include the control of any additional factors that may aggravate water scarcity, such as invasive alien plants. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), one of the world's most destructive invasive plants, presents a direct threat to economically productive water resources. Through high levels of evapotranspiration, water hyacinth leads to substantial water losses that could otherwise be used more productively, thereby creating an externality on water-dependent industries, such as irrigation-fed agriculture. This study provides an economic valuation of the water-saving benefit of water hyacinth control, using Warrenton Weir on the Vaalharts Irrigation Scheme as a case study. A Residual Value Method was employed to estimate the average production value of irrigation water, based on water's relative proportion of total costs (TC), to serve as a proxy for the value of water lost via evapotranspiration by water hyacinth. Three evapotranspiration to evaporation ratios, derived from the literature, at three levels of invasion (100; 50 and 25% cover), were used to estimate the annual water loss at Warrenton Weir. The average production value of irrigation water was estimated to be R38.71/m³, which translated into an annual benefit of between R54 million and R1.18 billion. These results highlight the need for invasive plant control, particularly in economically productive water resources. An alien plant control policy should prioritise invasions of this nature, as they present significant costs to the economy and threaten the sustainability of freshwater resources. <![CDATA[<b>The occurrence and removal of algae (including cyanobacteria) and their related organic compounds from source water in Vaalkop Dam with conventional and advanced drinking water treatment processes</b>]]> Cyanobacterial bloom formation in freshwaters, such as rivers, lakes and dams, is known to occur throughout the world. The Vaalkop Dam, which serves as source to the Vaalkop drinking water treatment works (DWTW), is no exception. Blooms of cyanobacteria occur annually in Vaalkop Dam as well as in dams from which Vaalkop is replenished during low-rainfall periods. These blooms during the summer months are associated with the production of cyanotoxins and taste and odour compounds such as geosmin and MIB. The Vaalkop DWTW uses a combination of conventional and advanced water treatment processes to deal with the cyanobacteria and their related organic compounds in the source water. The overall objectives of this study were to: (i) investigate the occurrence of algae (including cyanobacteria) and cyanotoxins in the Vaalkop Dam; (ii) establish which environmental variables are responsible for the development and onset of algae, and (iii) determine whether the Vaalkop DWTW is able to eliminate the influence that algae (including cyanobacteria) may have on the drinking water. Multivariate statistical analyses revealed seasonal variation in algal assemblages in the raw water. The risk of cyanobacteria bloom formation proved to be especially high during the summer months as the nutrients needed for cyanobacterial growth are available and the temperature range is optimal, causing the production of geosmin, MIB and microcystin. The presence of Ceratium hirundinella (O.F. Müller) Dujardin, in the source water appears to exacerbate the negative effect that cyanobacteria have on the drinking water treatment process. When Ceratium hirundinella is present, floc formation is inhibited, causing more of the problematic algae to penetrate into the drinking water. Even though advanced treatment options such as ozone and granular activated carbon filters are used at Vaalkop DWTW, the effects of the organic compounds produced by cyanobacteria are not entirely eliminated during the treatment process. <![CDATA[<b>The viability of domestic rainwater harvesting in the residential areas of the Liesbeek River Catchment, Cape Town</b>]]> By 2030 South Africa (SA), a developing country, is predicted to be severely impacted by physical water scarcity. In order to avert a future water crisis, the country needs to find ways to reduce its reliance on conventional surface water schemes based on impoundments on rivers. Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is an alternative water resource. To date, the viability of domestic RWH within an urban setting has not been adequately considered in SA. The purpose of this study was thus to address this omission through the detailed modelling of a representative catchment. The Liesbeek River Catchment in Cape Town -comprising some 6 200 domestic properties in 6 suburbs covering an area of around 1 300 ha - was chosen for this purpose; and a new computational tool, the Urban Rainwater/Stormwater Harvesting model (URSHM), was developed to take best advantage of the available data. The analysis showed that: RWH was only economically viable for a minority of property owners; climate change is likely to have limited impact on the performance of RWH systems; and - contrary to some claims - RWH is an unreliable means of attenuating peak stormwater flows. <![CDATA[<b>Water use of sorghum <i>(Sorghum bicolor </i>L. Moench) in response to varying planting dates evaluated under rainfed conditions</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Variability in chemistry of surface and soil waters of an evapotranspiration-dominated flood-pulsed wetland: solute processing in the Okavango Delta, Botswana</b>]]> Water chemistry is important for the maintenance of wetland structure and function. Interpreting ecological patterns in a wetland system therefore requires an in-depth understanding of the water chemistry of that system. We investigated the spatial distribution of chemical solutes both in soil pore water and surface water, along island-floodplain-channel hydrological gradients in seasonally and permanently inundated habitats between major regions in the Okavango Delta, Botswana. Our results show that major cations (Ca, Na, Mg, and K), dissolved silica (DSi), dissolved boron (B), dissolved organic matter (DOC) and electrical conductivity increased significantly, at p < 0.05, from the inlet of the Delta (the Panhandle) to the distal downstream reaches, suggesting the influence of evapoconcentration. Concentrations of dissolved Fe, Al, Zn, Cu, and Mn significantly decreased, at p < 0.05, from the inflow of the Delta to the distal reaches. Only Na, Mn, Fe, Al, and DOC showed significant differences, at p < 0.05, along the local floodplain-channel hydrological gradients, with higher solute concentrations in the floodplains than the channels. Solute concentrations in soil water exhibited similar distribution patterns to those in surface water, but concentrations were higher in soil water. Based on the results, we hypothesise that floodplain emergent vegetation and the channel-fringing vegetation in the Panhandle (a fault-bounded entry trough to the Delta) and the permanently inundated eco-region together influence the cycling of solutes that enter the Delta through uptake. <![CDATA[<b>Removal of 17 a-ethynylestradiol from aqueous solutions by a hybrid PAC/UF process</b>]]> This study investigated the removal of 17a-ethynylestradiol (EE2) from water using activated carbon adsorption and powdered activated carbon/ultrafiltration (PAC/UF). EE2 was easily adsorbed by PAC. The adsorption of EE2 fitted the Freundlich model well. The influences of initial EE2 concentration, filtration rate, PAC dose, natural organic matter (NOM), and sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate (SDBS) were investigated. The EE2 concentration and filtration rate had no significant effect on EE2 removal, whereas the addition of PAC had a significant effect on EE2 removal. The removal rate of EE2 increased dramatically from 7.01% to 80.03% as the PAC dose was increased from 0 to 10 mg/L. Both SDBS and NOM decreased the EE2 removal efficiency. The removal efficiency of EE2 in the PAC/UF process decreased from 86.77% to 42.64% as the SDBS concentration was increased from 0 to 50 mg/L. It was concluded that activated carbon adsorption and PAC/UF can be used for the effective removal of EE2 from water. <![CDATA[<b>Hydrogeological modelling of the Atlantis aquifer for management support to the Atlantis Water Supply Scheme</b>]]> The Atlantis Water Supply Scheme (AWSS, Western Cape, South Africa) has been in operation for about 40 years as a means to supply and augment drinking water to the town of Atlantis via managed aquifer recharge (MAR). In this study, the numerical model MODFLOW for groundwater flow and contaminant transport was used in support of the management of the AWSS. The aims were: (i) to calibrate the MODFLOW model for the MAR site at Atlantis; (ii) to run realistic scenarios that cannot be replicated through experiments; and (iii) to make recommendations in support of efficient and sustainable management of the aquifer. MODFLOW was calibrated through comparison of observed and simulated groundwater levels (R² between 0.663 and 0.995). Scenario simulations indicated possible drawdowns between < 5 m (low groundwater abstraction and low artificial recharge of groundwater through infiltration basins) and &gt; 20 m (high abstraction and high artificial recharge) at localized areas of the Witzand wellfield. At Silwerstroom, large drawdown levels were not predicted to occur, so this wellfield could be exploited more without affecting the sustainability of the groundwater resource. Groundwater moves from the infiltration basins towards the Witzand wellfield at a rate of 120-150 m-a-1. The modelling results supported recommendations for balancing groundwater abstraction and artificial recharge volumes, monitoring the water balance components of the system, the potential risks of groundwater contamination and the delineation of groundwater protection zones. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of land use change on streamflow and stream water quality of a coastal catchment</b>]]> This study aimed to link land cover/use change to water quality in an important water supply coastal catchment. The approach followed a spatial and temporal analysis of historical catchment land use change to assess how changes influenced water quality and river flow in the Touws and Duiwe Rivers, southwestern Cape, South Africa. Each sub-catchment has unique characteristics which influence land use and water quality and the purpose was to analyse each one separately. Historical water quality and flow analysis were based on the records available (Duiwe River: 1998-2013; Touws River: 1980-2013) together with rainfall data. Records were analysed to detect trends over time, which were linked to changes in land use activities. Agriculture intensified rapidly in the Duiwe River catchment with most arable land cultivated by 1960 and water storage as farm dams escalating. Concentrations of nutrients and electrical conductivity were higher in the Duiwe River than in the more natural Touws River, and were positively correlated to river flows. Mean values for total nitrogen and electrical conductivity were 0.03 mg/L and 16.7 mg/L, respectively, in the Touws River and 0.25 mg/L and 127 mg/L, respectively, in the Duiwe River. Nutrient concentrations decreased in the Duiwe River after 2006 as fertilizer applications to pastures were reduced. The South African Target Water Quality Ranges were exceeded at times and in the Touws catchment this appears to have been due to extensive fires. For instance, sodium concentrations reached a maximum of 1 874.5 mg/L in 1996 compared to a usual average concentration of 20.8 mg/L where the guidelines are between 0 and100 mg/L. The link between land cover/use and water quality was demonstrated and when spatial heterogeneity of the catchments was altered by human or natural events, this was reflected in changes in the water quality. <![CDATA[<b>Identifying potential surface water sampling sites for emerging chemical pollutants in Gauteng Province, South Africa</b>]]> Emerging chemical pollutants (ECPs) are defined as new chemicals which do not have a regulatory status, but which may have an adverse effect on human health and the environment. The occurrence and concentrations of ECPs in South African water bodies are largely unknown, so monitoring is required in order to determine the potential threat that these ECPs may pose. Relevant surface water sampling sites in the Gauteng Province of South Africa were identified utilising a geographic information system (GIS). The sites were identified by identifying potential sources of ECPs, including hospitals and clinics, sewage treatment plants, and areas with high population densities or areas that were vulnerable from an environmental point of view. Buffers were drawn around these areas to identify the water sources which have the highest probability of containing ECPs. Areas along the Klip River were identified as having a high likelihood of containing both anthropogenic ECPs and agricultural ECPs. Additionally, sections of the Hennops River were likely to contain anthropogenic ECPs, while the Blesbokspruit area had a high likelihood of containing agricultural ECPs. <![CDATA[<b>A new distribution record of <i>Chambardia wahlbergi </i>(Krauss, 1848) (Bivalvia: Iridinidae) and <i>Unio caffer </i>(Krauss, 1848) (Bivalvia: Unionidae) in South Africa</b>]]> Little is known with regard to the conservation status of invertebrates of South Africa; however, in the revised edition of the IUCN Red Data List (2011) the conservation status of both Unio caffer and Chambardia wahlbergi is considered as 'of least concern'. In recent reports on the geographical distribution and habitat preferences of these two species in South Africa, concern was expressed regarding their conservation status. However, specimens of C. wahlbergi collected at several sites on several occasions in the Vaal River were the first evidence that the geographical distribution of this bivalve was wider and not restricted to water bodies located in east-flowing catchments in the warmer areas of South Africa. The fact that populations of C. wahlbergi can become established in habitats on the Highveld was further supported by a number of valves collected on the dry bed of the Schoonspruit (26° 37' 55.2"S, 26° 35' 32.3"E), near Klerksdorp in the North West Province, on 16 February 2016. A number of valves of U. caffer which were collected on the same occasion at the same locality are also the first record of this species from this water body. <![CDATA[<b>Olushola S, Olalekan S, Folahan A, Leslie F and Ximba BJ (2014) Application of nano zinc oxide (nZnO) for the removal of triphenyltin chloride (TPT) from dockyard wastewater <i>(Water SA </i>40 (4) 659-664)</b>]]> Little is known with regard to the conservation status of invertebrates of South Africa; however, in the revised edition of the IUCN Red Data List (2011) the conservation status of both Unio caffer and Chambardia wahlbergi is considered as 'of least concern'. In recent reports on the geographical distribution and habitat preferences of these two species in South Africa, concern was expressed regarding their conservation status. However, specimens of C. wahlbergi collected at several sites on several occasions in the Vaal River were the first evidence that the geographical distribution of this bivalve was wider and not restricted to water bodies located in east-flowing catchments in the warmer areas of South Africa. The fact that populations of C. wahlbergi can become established in habitats on the Highveld was further supported by a number of valves collected on the dry bed of the Schoonspruit (26° 37' 55.2"S, 26° 35' 32.3"E), near Klerksdorp in the North West Province, on 16 February 2016. A number of valves of U. caffer which were collected on the same occasion at the same locality are also the first record of this species from this water body.