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 Post subject: New dam to be built in Olifants River catchment area
Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:49 am 
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This article was originally published on page 5 of The Mercury on October 03, 2006 (www.iol.co.za)

Another large dam will be built in the catchment area of the Kruger National Park's largest river, the Olifants River, despite objections by SA National Parks Chief David Mabunda and several environmental groups.
The De Hoop Dam, which will provide water for new platinum mines and farms, was given the final go-ahead last week, when Environment Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk dismissed appeals from Mabunda and other objectors, who fear the project will reduce the water flow in the Olifants River.
However, Van Schalkwyk said he shared several of these fears and had ordered his department to begin a strategic environmental assessment study to mitigate and guide further development projects that threatened the ecological future of the park.
Although he believed the department of water affairs had demonstrated the need to build a dam, Van Schalkwyk acknowledged that the De Hoop project would have "definite and substantial detrimental impacts on the environment".

It was necessary to put new safeguards in place to mitigate the impact to acceptable levels.
The dam is to be built in the Steelport River, a tributary of the Olifants River - which already has 30 large dams outside the park's boundaries and is fre-quently polluted by mines and industry in the Phalaborwa area.
Announcing his decision on Friday, Van Schalkwyk said appeals against the project had been lodged by several groups, including SanParks, the National Parks Support Group Trust, the Endangered Wildlife Trust and the South African Water Caucus.

Apart from concerns about the reduced water flow in the Olifants River and negative effect on tourism in the Kruger, some objectors also argued that the dam would only benefit mining and industry, rather than poor local communities.
Owing to the complexity of the issue, Van Schalkwyk had appointed two external experts to advise him on a final decision.

The two advisers, Prof MT Seaman, of the University of the Free State, and environmental consultant C Bruwer, recommended that an assessment study on the Kruger/Lowveld area as a whole was needed "with a degree of urgency" because of growing threats to the ecology.
The water affairs department should also be bound by a legal, written agreement to ensure that the park received a predetermined minimum water allocation.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:18 am 
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3 cheers for the minister .
And yet again he appoints more experts .

There goes 1 of the 2 strong rivers , what is going to happen to the central and northern sections now in times of huge drought ?

Especially with the park closing waterholes all the time because of them being un natural , what about the unatural overuse of all the river water before entering the park ?

(Wonder how much the platinum mines backhanders where ?)

NB! - See also my worries about mines and land claims in the land claim topic .


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:22 am 
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I agree. The Olifants is already the most poluted river entering the park. Now Kortbroek has resolved to stuff it up completely. Yes I see the ugly back hand of big business at play here, such a pity the minister of environmental affairs is not standing by his Parks Board. Its the job of the Department of Trade and Industry to back business. I've got a good idea, maybe we should bottle this water and smuggle it into his office for him to drink everydAY.

So much for public particpation. This whole thing has been pushed through nicely and quietly.


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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 10:47 pm 
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Maybe I am being naive, but the river flow should just be less until the dam fills up? :hmz:

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Unread postPosted: Tue Oct 03, 2006 11:37 pm 
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Large parts of the olifants river are big aluvial flood plains .

A dam will still allow flow , but there will not be the flood plain effect anymore (Amonsgt other changes caused due to a dam) , so the ecology of the entire river system will change .

This is a very big dam also .

http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/eng/ne ... show=91695


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 12:51 pm 
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Hi Bush Baptist

The problem is the dam will empty every winter then begin to fill up IF it rains in the summer. The river downstream will not start flowing until the dam is full and the floodgates are opened. Thus instead of flowing for most of the summer, now it will probably be only for a month or two, thats if the dam gates are actually opened. Often times they are not. On the other hand in heavy rands they are opened suddenly and introduce the incidence of flash flooding and massive erosion. As Bucky says the whole eco system is going to change.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 7:22 am 
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Thanks for the explanation, nunu.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 9:49 am 
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This just all sounds crazy to me, I mean last year when we experienced a low rainfall, not even drought conditions, the Olifants river stopped flowing.
I am afraid the ministers plans to order a strategic environmental assessment study for further development projects that threaten the ecological future of the park are akin to slamming the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 1:19 pm 
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nunu wrote:
Hi Bush Baptist

The problem is the dam will empty every winter then begin to fill up IF it rains in the summer. As Bucky says the whole eco system is going to change.



If they really care for the ecology in the park why not make a seperate channel from the river and past the dam to ensure that water will start flowing before the the dam is filled up again. :idea:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 3:15 pm 
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Quote:
If they really care for the ecology in the park why not make a seperate channel from the river and past the dam to ensure that water will start flowing before the the dam is filled up again


Because they dont really care and they want all the water - the industry in the area is water intensive


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Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:18 pm 
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I just think its Tragic and Pathetic that they want to build this dam....I wonder who is getting a back hander this time

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:46 am 
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Think this is the latest news:Dam 'will harm environment'


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Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 18, 2006 7:11 am 
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Quote:
Environmental affairs and tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk admitted that the dam would harm the environment, but said there was no other alternative.


How about not building it , or making it smaller . :?:

As nunu said , the minister should be fighting this sort of thing , its his duty/job to protect the environment .


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun May 27, 2007 7:23 am 
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This is not SanParks related, but it is conservation related.
There are moves to mine Titanium off the coast of the Wild Coast in some of the most pristine eco systems.
It is to be done by an Australian mining company with the usual "rationalisation" of "giving jobs".

Remember the last Titanium debacle around St Lucia? I think this too deserves a concerted effort to raise awareness and block the mining companies.

Like draining water from the Olifants catchment area, there is just such a cynical disregard for nature.

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Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:49 am 
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Meandering Mouse wrote:
there is just such a cynical disregard for nature.


Indeed , and to think that the "jobs" created (It is obviously not about the billions the mine co makes :x) will only last for a certain amount of time , but the damage created and nature lost or spoiled will be for ever .


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