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 Post subject: Re: Olifants river drying up
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 10:48 am 
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chrisb wrote:
I was this past weekend in the KNP and the Olifants river dried up. Only a few pools.
Why don't the KNP officials ask the mines in Phalaborwa to release water into the Selati river that flows into the Olifants.
I know for a fact that for years the mines released water into the Selati river and the Olifants kept on flowing.
Remember the drought of the 1990/91 the one mine pumped water stream up of the Olifantsdam into the Olifants to keep water availible for Phalaborwa.


Hi chrisb,

the problem is that the barage dam in Phalaborwa is almost filled to the top with silt. They barely have enough water for the town. There was some water released into the olifants recently, but as you saw it did not help much. The heat and thirst of the land used up most of it already. All we can hope for is rain, which I believe will come soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Olifants river drying up
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 11:57 am 
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chrisb wrote:
Hi Wildtuinman

My question is still why can't the mines release water into the river.
In my 48 years staying in Phalaborwa this is the first time the Olifants stopped flowing.
The mines released water into the river until last year June.
There was always water flowing into the river.


Chrisb, that is a good question, but my guess would be that the mines' water contains silt too which damages the Eco-system down the line.
Who knows what other harmful chemicals are being released with it?
You say that the mines always provided water. It is great to hear from someone there in Phalaborwa self, who can provide us with clues.
Can you maybe try and find out for us then?

I don't know 100% how the system works there, but it seems like the only option to provide water to Kruger right now is from the barrage dam.
It did sound like water from the Blydepoort dam might help filling the Olifants.
Has the tender been awarded yet for clearing the barrage's silt?

Which ever way, man are stuffing up nature.
Now with the planned Mazinger dam I reckon it will only stuff it up more.
But many others disagree with me.

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 Post subject: Olifants river drying up
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:09 pm 
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I am working at one of the mines and don't want to get involved in any discussions about the releasing of water into the river.
It is a very sensitive case and i am not allowed to speak on behalf of the mine.
DWAF stopped the releasing of water.
The water does not contain any silt, it is clear.
The water was flowing for years into the river.

I don't think they can clear up the silt in the barrage the problem is too big.
We are getting water from the dam in the Blyderiver higher up in the mountain now for years.

Can somebody from the park give us an answer.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2005 2:24 pm 
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KNP Spokesman wrote:
Dear Forumites

Thank you for your concerns about this issue.
I have asked WTM to place this for me as I am again plagued with internet connection problems.

The problem regarding the Olifants River flowing is pretty sensitive at the moment.
Many different organisations are involved but let us first look at the Act of Government that controls this - the relatively new National Water Act.
This basically says that those upstream of a river are responsible to those downstream of that same river to ensure that they get both quality and quantity of water.
An overriding factor is, of course, human consumption (people must have water).
In other words, those upstream of the Olifants are responsible for the water (both quality and quantity) that eventually flows into the KNP.

That said, we have impressed upon two of the key players of the Olifants Catchment Area (Department of Water Affairs and Forestry - DWAF and Lepelle Northern Water - the water supplier of the Phalaborwa Municipality) to ensure that water does indeed flow into the Kruger National Park.
DWAF controls the Blyde Poort Dam and Lepelle Northern Water controls the barrage.
I understand that more water has been released into the system after our request but we believe that these two organisations shouldn't have let the situation develop in the first place (if you take the new National Water Act into consideration).

We are monitoring the situation closely and have put in place severe water restrictions at all camps in this area in order to manage the river's flow from our side.
We are also in communication with both DWAF and Lepelle Northern Water.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 6:53 am 
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Katydownunder's sms received early this morning:

Quote:
Saw something great this morning. Yesterday Olifants River was completely dry except for some remaining pools. Getting up this morning I could not believe my eyes. Water in the river and it even flows.

Now leaving Olifants rest camp we finally got a real river view :lol: Looks awsome. Katy


The Olifants River stopped flowing during the second half of August this year. Satara camp also relied on this river for its water and both Satara and Olifants camps have been using borehole water according to notices that were up in the camps.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:07 am 
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This is great news!!! Good to hear there is running water in the Olifants again....

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:02 pm 
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It is always so amazing to see how quickly rivers that were bone dry one day can start flowing again so fast.

In fact there are many stories of people having been caught out while crossing dry river beds and suddenly faced by a torrent of water that can be deadly.
A big storm far up in the catchment area is all that is needed.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:39 pm 
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Wild@Heart wrote:
I think this had a large part to play for the olifants running again..

chrisb on 07/11/2005 wrote:
I have heard from a lady who's husband is working at the barrage that they have opened the sluices last night to release water for KNP and there is water on its way from the upper Olifants.

I must admit I wondered about that because there was a notice in the Olifants camp when I was there that they were waiting for water to be released from the Blyde Dam to help relieve the situation.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 2:51 pm 
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From Hein Grobler at Olifants...

Quote:
Since 23 August 2005 the Olifants River came to a complete standstill.
Despite the numerous efforts to release water from the Blyde Dam, the water never reached Olifants Camp. This resulted in no water irrigation for longer than two months.
Over the last weekend we received wonderful rain and the catchments area of the Olifants River has shown this.
Yesterday the first few pictures (7 Nov 2005) was taken of the dry-not-flowing Olifants Rive, and then this morning (8 Nov 2005) was a rumble of brown water flowing past the camp.

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 Post subject: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:40 pm 
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It was reported some years ago that the permanent rivers in Kruger are deteriorating to such an extent that some of them, such as the Letaba and Levhuvu, have stopped flowing in winter. This led to various research projects which have been undertaken to establish how this problem has affected the river systems throughout Kruger.

One of the researchers has proved that the diversity of the fish species in the rivers which stopped flowing, dwindled so seriously that eight species identified in 1964 are no longer found in the rivers. Another researcher discovered that common reeds are taking over the sandbanks of the rivers in question, which will seriously hamper the natural flow of the water.

Any updates or fresh news about this?

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 Post subject: Re: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 17, 2010 1:36 pm 
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On our trip this Feb, I must say that the Letaba river did look very low for Summer and I can't imagine too much water flowing at all in Winter but in contrast the Luvuvhu river was the fullest I think I have seen it in many years, as was the Shingwedzi.

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 Post subject: Re: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:45 am 
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What we should not forget is that the 2009-2010 rain season has been very good in the catchment areas of most of the KRUGER perrenial rivers well above average - this is all part of nature's cycle of feast and famine.

The KRUGER perrenial rivers : Limpopo, Levhuvu, Letaba, Olifants, Sabie and Crocodile.

The perrenial rivers are generally placid-flowing streams during the dry season (April - October), except for the rapid or narrow and the water is normally clear, except for the Levhuvu River which which is always turbid, even in mid winter. During the rainy season (November - March) when the rivers are in full spate they in character are much more muddy and turbulent.

The effect of pollution can clearly be seen for instance when the Olifants - (the most polluted river in the PARK) is flowing slowly in the drier periods, unnatural alge (the result of pollution) can be seen when crossing the bridges.

Change in pH caused by industrial pollution will most definitely affect the fish populations. Natural earth water is more alkaline (high pH) when the industrial pollution takes place acids (mainly sulphuric acid) enter the system and lower the pH.

Dam walls of course also intefere with the natural flow of the rivers and streams slowing them down only letting the "excess" pass through the system.

The reduction in the flow of the rivers cause the settling of the pollutants in the riverbed, increasing the concentration and causing bioacumulation in its inhabitants - the fauna and flora in the system.

Unnatural enrichment e.g. sewage causes alge and other vegetative growth, clogging the flow of both the seasonal end perrenial rivers. In the past the natural distrubution of Hippo assisted with the clearing of vegetation from the water courses.

Dam walls without fish ladders negatively affect the natural migratory process of the fish population causing them not to breed where they naturally should e.g. Tiger Fish and Eels.

Now the latest threat to certain species is global warming, certain species survive only in the cooler waters.

The increasing threat to indigenous animal and plant species in South Africa posed by development pressure, by changing vegetation, by habitat destruction, by the invasion of alien species and by commercial exploitation is an environmental problem of immense magnitude.

Manay creatures have been extinct in the doomed landscape of other countries, with the current situation in South Africa - all talk and no do - we are rapidly catching up with them.

A typical example of how rapidly we are destroying our nature is the coal mine and the planned power station at the confluence of the Shashe and Great Limpopo Rivers - our heritage a place we call Mapungubwe.

Everything possible must be done to save our primitive earth for the benefit of future generations.

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 Post subject: Re: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:15 am 
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A bit about our Freshwater Fish Species.

We have 102 species and sub-species indigenous freshwater fish species in South Africa, of which 48 occur in varying numbers in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

A further 14 species occur in the other National Parks of our country.

28 Species of freshwater fish were already listed by Skelton in 1977 as being threatened in his Red data book.

Many species e.g. smal minnows of the Barbus species are of a very localized distribution and only inhabit favourable portions of streams and rivers making them extremely vulnerable to introduced pecies of alien predating species.

Many of these little minnows play a very active role in controlling mosquito larvae - reducing the Malaria threat and also the Bilharzia-vecting snails of our waters.

Untill such time as the general appreciation of the basic necessity of wild things and landscapes for the well being of man is fostered by all; as opposed to the short term material gain in the face of civilization pressures and progress, destruction will continue and finding reasons to do so will also continue leaving behind a much poorer everything.

All alien species (animal and vegetative) and pollutant agents should be actively prevented from entering these habitats and adequate measures should be taken through legislative measures including the enforcement thereof to prevent the destruction of these habitats.

Active liaison between the respective conservation agencies and the Department of Water Affairs should take place ensuring that destruction of our rivers does not take place.

Members of the public should also get involved in preventing this destruction.

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 Post subject: Re: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:02 pm 
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I received the following information from Dr. Andrew Deacon, Project Manager: Small Vertebrates Savanna Unit, KNP.

Quote:
Crocodile River: A very diverse river – biggest problem: alien invasive weeds. Regulated by the Kwena Dam, over-utilized by irrigation and extraction for towns. Results in low flows during winter and sometimes no flows near Komati Poort. Since the last irrigators and Mozambique require water, Department of Water Affairs strive to get water to the end of the river, which benefits the park. Return flows from irrigation and pollution due to sewage effluent renders river eutrophic, thus the large amount of green algae covering sensitive habitats. No fish species lost yet.

Sabie River: Short river from Drakensberg to Mozambique; many dams in catchment (tributaries); very diverse, cold finger running through Park. Water relatively clean, never stopped flowing. Corumana Dam will be heightened, might result in similar problem as Massingir cause in Olifants. Fish reasonably secure.

Olifants River: Water quality problems – mining in catchment. Coal in highveld, heavy metals in Steelpoort and Phalaborwa areas. Erosion in catchment (especially Sekhukuneland) results in major sedimentation in river, covering large stretches of original habitat. Over-extraction of water in in catchments, periodical no-flows in river during winter. Raising of Massingir Dam results in crocodile and fish mortality due to stagnant system. At least 2 fish species absent from river due to state of the river.

Letaba River: Main problem is dams in catchment and over extraction due to irrigation. During low flows just a trickle or no flow. Increase problems with water quality as irrigation return flows increase fertilizer levels in water – resulting in eutrophication. Non flows reduce habitat availability. One fish may be lost to the river.

Shingwedzi: Seasonal river – not too impacted from outside.

Luvuvhu River: Erosion and sedimentation, and low flows due to extraction for irrigation seems to be the main cause for concern. Stopped flows during droughts. No fish lost yet.

I hope this straw dog helps – please feel welcome to ask questions on the frame provided.

Regards,
Dr Andrew Deacon (SANParks)
Project Manager: Small Vertebrates Savanna Unit, KNP


Thank you! :thumbs_up:

A definition taken from Wikipedia: A eutrophic body of water, commonly a lake or pond has high primary productivity due to excessive nutrients and is subject to algal blooms resulting in poor water quality. The bottom waters of such bodies are commonly deficient in oxygen, ranging from hypoxic to anoxic.

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 Post subject: Re: Cry, our precious rivers.
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 9:30 am 
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Members of the Endangered Wildlife Trust have done a research last week of the Olifants river and was saddened by their findings. Every year, fewer and fewer birds were spotted along the 55 km stretch of the Olifants where the research was done.

Only 3 breeding pairs of Pel's Fishing Owls were spotted, while 3 years ago there were between 5 and 10 pairs. During 2007 they spotted 30 Goliath Herons along the river but this year they only found 2. They have also seen less Kingfishers than before.

Of the more common species like the Great Whit Egret, Yellowbilled Stork, Spoonbill and Darter, not a single specimen were seen. Only 2 Fish Eagle nests were found.

Very sad news

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