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My question became: If water could have such an impact at a local level, how then do major companies manage water risks? Water stewardship means that businesses should adopt a beyond the-fence approach when it comes to water, and treat it as more than just a resource. They need to see it as an integral part of the environment, society and the economy.
Agriculture, tourism and many other water intensive businesses have felt the impact on their operations and profits. In the face of climate change and drought, water security has become a serious concern.
As a starting point, she is assessing 40 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange that are water intensive, using data from to In addition to using primary data, such as company reports, Jeram is interviewing sustainable development practitioners in major organisations. The National Business Initiative, which is a voluntary coalition of companies working towards sustainable growth and development, has been useful in facilitating contact and easing the data collection process. An equally important component of her research is to critique the usefulness of voluntary disclosure tools.
One such tool is a global water survey administered by international non-profit,. CDP is a worldwide disclosure system that enables companies, cities and governments to measure and manage their environmental impacts. Regarded as the international benchmark, CDP is credited for driving unprecedented levels of environmental disclosure. Although Jeram is encouraged that companies are making a move towards adopting sustainable practices with water being just one of many sustainability departments in companies and their captains struggle to speak the same language, she says.
It is sometimes difficult for business leaders to understand the need to change now, when cautioned about their practices. Johannesburg could see the same problems that Cape Town is experiencing, sooner rather than later, cautions Jeram. The challenges faced by the hospitality industry, for example, which had to mount campaigns to change customer behaviour and attitudes towards water use, highlight these challenges.
It is common to see businesses and schools closing early in Johannesburg when there are water interruptions as a result of infrastructure maintenance and repairs. This reaction, unfortunately, is a sign that the public and businesses are ill prepared for prolonged water threats. For her part, the Lenasia resident tries to educate people about environmental issues and places importance on small changes. Jeram considers herself lucky to be working in this field when global attention is focused on climate change and the problem of too much or too little water.
The slow sand filter method has been used for centuries to treat water. Busisiwe Mashiane, a fourth year chemical engineering student in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits, is researching and developing a slow sand filter to meet the needs of South Africans. We want to ensure that, because people in these communities cannot afford elaborate water treatment methods, our system can assist in their basic human right of having access to clean potable water.
A continuous water flow from a 25 litre tank feeds into a reactor tank the sand bed. From here the water flows into a 25 litre transparent sterlisation tank, after which the clean water can be dispensed into a storage container for use. The sand bed in the reactor tank is made up of layers of fine gravel, then activated carbon, and finally coarse gravel and fine sand.
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A layer of biological matter, called the schmutzdecke, forms on top of the sand and the schmutzdecke in the water is prevented from flowing through the sand. This layer of biological matter ensures that the filtered water is free of harmful bacteria and pathogens, while the sand bed strips the physical impurities out of the water. The Agincourt tower is part of a network of towers in the Skukuza and Malopeni villages in the Lowveld. The project investigates the coupled carbon and water cycles of natural and disturbed savannah ecosystems in southern Africa.
It aims to deepen the knowledge on how the natural environment functions in rural communities in southern Africa. This knowledge is crucial for understanding the link between ecosystems and climate, and how changes in land use may impact the climate in the future. The flux tower houses a range of sophisticated equipment used to measure how much carbon dioxide, water vapour, and energy move between the land surface and the atmosphere.
Other measurements, including climate parameters temperature, humidity, rainfall, atmospheric pressure , are made to get more information about processes of the savannah ecosystem. The Skukuza tower, erected in , was the first in Africa and today there are about eight scattered around the country. SARIR is a strategic intervention to provide research infrastructure across the entire public research system that builds on existing capabilities and considers future needs.
Molecular hydrogen is the most abundant molecule in the matter between stars in Space, and water helps to cool collapsing clouds and dust during the formation of stars. But is there any way to use this water to save ourselves? Do we look to the stars to save life as we know it?
Will Captain Kirk or the Defenders of the Galaxy beam us up to another planet that is flowing with water? Astronomer, Professor David Block from the Wits School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics explains why saving the planet by casting our eyes up into the sky is not that simple.
The short answer is, yes! But the full answer is not that simple. While we have discovered water on Mars, the question is whether we will ever be able to have access to it. Mars as a destination is difficult for humans to reach and even more difficult to live on. Mars has polar ice caps made of frozen carbon dioxide dry ice , and despite us having a similar climate to Mars, it is a very hostile environment with dust storms sometimes covering the entire planet.
The temperatures dive well into the negatives at night and in winter. A metric tonne of water corresponds with water filling a container where each side spans approximately one kilometre. A small bay or lake in South Africa which is 50 metres deep and 3. It is believed that water-bearing comets, asteroids and meteoroids delivered this to the moon by crashing into it. Scientists have discovered exoplanets, which are planets that are outside our planetary system, orbiting other stars.
As at February , there are 3 confirmed planets in 2 systems with systems having more than one planet. This discovery has encouraged the research for extra-terrestrial life with a special interest in planets that orbit a star which is in a habitable zone, where it is possible for liquid water to exist on the surface if the atmospheric pressure is like ours.
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The exciting news is that astronomers have discovered seven planets, three of which are Earth-sized, orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a red dwarf star located just under 40 light years away from the Sun. These three exoplanets orbit within a habitable zone from the dwarf star, making it possible for life to thrive.
NASA has indicated that a closer study of the seven planets suggests that some could have far more water than the oceans of Earth, in the form of atmospheric water vapour for the planets closest to their star, liquid water for others, and ice for those farthest away. Wearing my futurist hat, yes we can use these planets as a source of water.
Earth is the only planet in our planetary system with easily-reachable water. Hence, let us protect what we have and begin our journey to save our planet. We have just the right atmospheric and chemical compositions, water and temperature on the planet for life to be possible. We need to protect what we have. At 20, the Royal Astronomical Society published his paper on relativistic astrophysics. He is the only scientist in Africa whose work has twice featured on the cover of Nature.
The story of why rainfall at Wits dispenses to the Atlantic and Indian Oceans respectively is a tale as old as Africa itself. Wits University is located right on top of the watershed that divides the Limpopo and Vaal-Orange river basins. This means that rainwater that flows off the front roof of the Great Hall discharges into northerly draining rivers, ultimately entering the Indian Ocean via the Limpopo River. Rainwater flowing off the back roof, however, flows southward into the Vaal River and is ultimately discharged into the Atlantic Ocean via the Orange River.
This quirky watershed was created hundreds of millions of years ago when the Supercontinent, Gondwana, broke into the continents of Africa, Antarctica, Australia and South America. The separation of southern Africa from South America to the west and Antarctica to the east resulted in two very asymmetrical drainage systems: The Karoo-Kalahari River System rises far in the east, almost on the eastern escarpment, and flows westward across Africa to discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Zambezi-Limpopo System in the north rises along the western escarpment and discharges into the Indian Ocean. The Limpopo River of today is a small vestige of what it used to be. In the Cretaceous Period before 65 million years ago , its tributaries included the upper Zambezi, Kafue and Okavango Rivers, and it was the main drainage of southern Africa. It is for this reason that the Limpopo Delta is the largest on the African continent.
At that time, the ancestral Orange River the Karoo River discharged into the Atlantic Ocean much further south than it does today near the mouth of the Olifants River , and what is today the lower Orange River was part of a separate river system named the Kalahari River. These ancient river systems have undergone substantial adjustments since the Cretaceous Period. Crustal warping, which is the bending of sedimentary strata , severed the upper Limpopo from its tributaries upper Zambezi, Kafue and Okavango rivers , resulting in the large Lake Makgadikgadi.
Consequently, the size of Lake Makgadikgadi was greatly reduced. Notwithstanding these changes, the original drainage asymmetry and the Wits watershed, implanted in time immemorial when Gondwana broke up, remain evident today. He has wide research interests in the earth sciences, including economic and environmental geology, geochemistry and geomorphology, and is a leading expert on the geology of wetlands, especially the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
He bent down. He grinned. Of the two teeth in his mouth, one was rotten. The other broken in half. He threw back his head and cackled at what I hoped was a joke.