SANBI case studies address biodiversity and freshwater resources

The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has published a fantastic series of case studies that demonstrate how the wise management of biodiversity and ecological infrastructure contributes to economic and social development, and warn of how poor environmental management can drain municipal coffers and increase the vulnerability of marginalised communities.

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Several of the case studies relate specifically to important freshwater resources:

Case Study 1: A stream ran through it: How a healthy river system cleans up effluent and improves water quality to the economically critical Midmar Dam.

Case Study 2: Water thieves: (This case study will be republished soon).

Case Study 3: Dam busters: Investing in ecosystem restoration is an investment in built infrastructure, such as dams. Catchment restoration extends the life of existing dams, protects them in various ways, and makes them more efficient. It is also cheaper than building new dams.

Case Study 4: Washed away: Losing healthy catchments upriver can have devastating consequences for built infrastructure further downstream, due to flooding. The study calls for better decision-making in the management of landscapes.

Case Study 5: Scrubbing out waters clean: Wetlands scrub pollutants out of the water through various natural processes, making these systems invaluable allies when dealing with water contaminated by mining processes, industrial effluent, sewage, and agricultural runoff. But even the most robust wetland has a breaking point.

Case Study 6: Before & After: Cleaning up the Zaalklapspruit: Healthy wetlands are an invaluable ally which can clean water contaminated by mining, industrial effluent, sewage, and agricultural runoff. Documenting the restoration of the degraded Zaalklapspruit will show a healthy wetland getting back to work.

Case Study 7: A Flower in The Heart of Eden: Working together in water catchments, municipalities, farmers and the private sector can build a shared response to managing communal water supply. This can help them to better manage the negative impacts of climate change on the water resources on which they all depend.