South African Water Problem

Published: 2021-09-14 10:00:09
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Category: Science

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Introduction        South Africa has been depicted by the media as having unclean water for its inhabitants. However, the actual problem is that water has become scarce in South Africa due to foreign vegetation. Because of this, many South Africans have died from thirst, and continue to suffer from water shortages to today. In order to expand on this issue, the proper ecosystem must be defined, scientific information must be used to explain the problem, human intervention must be understood, and solutions must be proposed. A. Description of the Ecosystem and Environmental Resource of Concern        South Africa supports many different species in its ecosystem. This disproportionate number of animals, plants, and humans have caused the ultimate reliance on water necessary for their survival (Dziba 2016). However, several events in both the past and present have limited the amount of consumable water. In the past, South Africa was able to support all types of life, when it had a large amount of water. Today, South Africa has slowly been drained of its resources, especially since the country relies on water to support its agricultural field. Ultimately, South Africa’s dependence on water has made it the thirtieth driest nation in the world (Tibane 2016). Currently, the government is using over ninety-eight percent of drinking water in its developing industry, which has caused riots and many labor strikes (Braun 2010). Because water has become scarce, farmers have been stealing water to farm, specifically near the Vaal River (Masondo 2011). It is clear that South Africa has been going through recent turmoil while trying to regulate its water usage. Although South Africa is a currently developing nation, it still contains rich resources in its ecosystem.        Since South Africa is a developing country, it contains mostly rural lands with small villages. In addition, it has a small number of industrious factories, allowing there to be clean air. However, foreign nations have been urging the development of South Africa, in order to gain control of its natural resources (Chevallier 2012). If South Africa is able to solve this environmental issue that they are facing, they may be able to save their nation’s ecosystem. B. The Use of Scientific Information in Identifying the Environmental Problem or Issue        Native plants to South Africa are able to rely on small amounts of water, however invasive vegetation has created an imbalance in the amount of water consumed by plants (Moyers 2001). In addition to the water consumed, the excessive amount of invasive plants has started to deplete oxygen levels due to the large amounts of nitrogen released into the air. In order to determine where invasive species reside in South Africa, one data source is the South African Plant Invaders Atlas (SAPIA) (Richardson & Wilgen 2004). While there are multiple species of plants that have invaded South Africa, most of them are trees and shrubs, in the genera Acacia, Hakea, and Pinus (Richardson & Wilgen 2004). In order to understand the severity of the problem, the scientific model I (Impact)= R (Invader) x A (Abundance or density) x E (Effect) was developed. With the creation of this equation, scientists have been able to determine which of the eight terrestrial biomes were most affected by invasive species. With the use of SAPIA and the invasive species model, scientists were able to determine that fynbos was the most invaded biome, with invading species ranging in the mountains, valleys, and along rivers (Richardson & Wilgen 2004).

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