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How wetlands help rescue us from drought

With South Africa’s water security on a knife-edge, there is an urgent need for wetlands to be rehabilitated and preserved.

According to SRK Consulting’s principal hydrologist Dr Simon Lorentz, wetlands are significant for both the surface water and groundwater components of the water resource. As an expert in wetland hydrology, he argued that we need far greater attention on how these diminishing areas should be protected.

“Modern society’s demand for water has clearly led to many interventions in the water cycle, as we control the flow of water for our own needs,” said Dr Lorentz. “Wetlands can provide a useful indicator of where such interventions have gone too far.”

In a recent project, for instance, SRK Consulting has been advising a client on the necessary remedial action on a wetland that has begun drying out. Without sufficient moisture in the peat soil of the wetland area, the ground has begun to burn frequently, possibly due to the veld fires in the area – but it may also spontaneously combust due to its high content of hydrocarbons.

Author: Simon Lorentz | Principal Hydrologist

SRK Africa