Conservation & Environmental Matters

from African Wildlife ISSUE 59 No. 2 AUTUMN 2005

From the Editor

Dr. John Ledger

We learn about the water cycle at school, and it seems that our water dominated plan et is a closed system where the H2O is not gained or lost, but just shifted around. So water vapour rises to form clouds, they shed their rainwhich runs down rivers to the sea, and the whole cycle starts again. But this simplicity is complicated by shifts and tricks in the system, like unpredictable rainfall in some places and lots of the water being locked up as ice in others.

Now we have the new wild card of global climate change to contend with, and I recently heard Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the British Government, deliver a brilliant lecture on the subject, that was quite frightening in its brutal clarity - we are in for new climate extremes, melting of ice, rising sea levels and floods, and there is little we can do about it in the short term!

In South Africa we are increasingly aware of our water situatioon, and this edition of your magazine addresses some of the water issues, Our rainfall is unpredictable, and even though we havbe devised some means to store it and shift it around, water remains a valuable commodity anbd a limiting factor to our ecomonic and social well-being.

WESSA members are an enlightened segment of our society and should be role models as responsible water users. WESSA education projects carry the water message to many thousands of children. WESSA's Mondi Wetlands Project is an outstanding example of environmental management to protect our valuable sources of water. Government is getting tough on those who take more than a reasonable allocation of groundwater, as some are learning to their cost.

Enjoy reading this issue, then go andf implement your own personal water conservation plan. It's what "people caring for the Earth" should do.