The winter rains have arrived and there is hope of a recovery from the drought. The aquifer that we rely on is still under-saturated; this is evident in the levels at Die Oog not recovering as successfully as our dams that are fed by rivers.
This will be held on the 16th of September at the Meadowridge Library Hall, at 5.30pm. Dr Justine Ewart-Swart of Freshwater Consulting cc has agreed to be the speaker. Justine will be delving into this topical question:
Is groundwater abstraction a sustainable solution to the water crisis?
Justine Ewart-Smith will present on the potential ecological effects of groundwater abstraction on surface water ecosystems, particularly wetlands such as Die Oog. While the idea that augmenting our unreliable water supply with groundwater may be a wise one, the question arises as to whether we are able to manage the resource sustainably if uncontrolled usage of water from the aquifer by individual residents is supported by the City. What are the consequences, and should we be monitoring and managing the environmental impacts?
Dr Ewart-Swart is a SACNASP registered freshwater ecologist with extensive experience in the assessment and evaluation of aquatic ecosystems. Justine is currently the project leader on an ongoing monitoring project aimed at investigating the potential effects of groundwater abstraction from the Table Mountain Group Aquifer (TMGA) on surface water ecosystems. She is also the specialist freshwater ecologist on the City of Cape Town’s New Water Project, a recently established initiative aimed at developing various groundwater wellfields in response to extreme drought conditions in recent years.
We are very grateful to have her dedicate her time and expertise at our AGM, considering what a hot topic this is I anticipate a high turnout at the AGM. Space is limited so get there early.
FODO ran a funds drive that lead to many kind donations; your contributions go a long way in helping us to keep Die Oog looking neat and tidy. Thank you to all of you who donated and continue to renew your memberships. A special mention to Mr. Brian Gripper, a previous Chairman, who very generously asked for cash donations for FODO instead of gifts for his 90th birthday. Another fortunate opportunity that happened as a result of the funds drive was an introduction to Hugh Lashbrook who got FODO involved in the WordPress Do-action Hackathon. The Hackathon is a corporate funded volunteer run initiative that offers groups like ours the opportunity to develop a brand spanking new website for free. When the offer came our way, we jumped at it, like a toad to water. The highly effective team of designers, developers and coders devoted days of their time to building our new site making it more efficient, with a fresh feel, current content, easy donations, mobile navigation and a backend that has set us up very well into the future. We cannot thank the team enough but mentioning their names : (Nadine Heasman, Dustan Franks, Duane Reeve, Carin Eaton, Lydia van der Merwe, Tammi Dooley and Natalie Spires) and singing their praises is a start. Please go and visit the site at www.dieoog.org.za and if you are not already a member then please sign up or donate.
The city, in collaboration with FODO, has also completed the new signage installation at the entrance. Other signs commenting on the status of the water levels and feeding the water birds have also been erected. The subcontracted Biodiversity teams have now completed the paving and it is looking good.
Maintenance in the wetland and the rest of the conservation area continues to run smoothly and after the great winter rains so far, everything is looking primed for a bursting spring. The granitic fynbos area is already showing vibrant bulbs flowering and the March lilies were spectacular this year. Hadeda’s are building their nests and the weavers are weaving away ready for their laying season. The resilient Coots have held their ground in their island nest that rested on mud for a few weeks. The Dikkop are always around and a pair of yellow billed ducks has started visiting again. The Owl box has fluff all around it, I hope this means they are nesting? I did see a Cape eagle owl in the wetland on the 9th of August. The terrapins are tanning, and the Leopard toads have been making appearances in gardens around the neighborhood. If all goes well the annual migration to Die Oog should be starting as things get a bit warmer. Please be aware of toads on the roads and spread the word with your neighbors and visitors.
Water levels at Die Oog
The current water levels are of great concern to the community and the FODO team. The recent drought has had a major impact on the dam. We watched the water level make a brief recovery last winter and then the levels continued to drop through December until mid-May 2019 where we saw the last sliver completely dry up to a muddy patch. In the same week of late May, the first rains finally arrived and the mud patch returned to a puddle. We are now midway through August and the Western Cape dam levels are nearing a collective 80% which is fantastic news but Die Oog has not recovered as well. Unlike the dams, Die Oog does not fill from a river. It relies exclusively on rain run off down its own banks and an elusive spring. Overuse of private boreholes and well points as well as the collection and sell off of spring water may be the cause of Die Oog’s slow recovery. So, come to the AGM to hear more…
We hope to see you all at the AGM on the 16th of September.
R50 – membership renewal
FRIENDS OF DIE OOG SUBS FOR 2019/2020
TO BE PAID BY EFT TO : CAPITEC BANK
Savings account : P Williams : Treasurer for Friends of Die Oog
ACCOUNT Number: 1519148664
BRANCH CODE : 470010
PLEASE USE YOUR NAME AS A PAYMENT REFERENCE SO THAT WE CAN ALLOCATE THE PAYMENTS CORRECTLY.
PAYMENT CAN ALSO BE MADE IN CASH AT THE AGM.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUERIES YOU CAN MAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org