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Module 3: Water
The first lecture in this module (Water Quality) aims to provide first a brief overview of the diversity of freshwater ecosystems, how they function and the services that many of them provide to humans. It is only in the light of this information that the implications of different effects on water quality can be understood, in terms of both human and ecosystem health. The lecture outlines the major components of water quality, and summarises how they change, and some of the ecological and /or human health implications of these changes. The use of various water quality management objectives / effluent quality restrictions / guidelines in South Africa is also discussed. Reading material discusses specific effects of human settlements on freshwater ecosystems, and outlines the complexities of catchment level impacts, to show the linkages between social, economic and environmental decisions.
The second lecture (Water Conservation and Demand Management) provides a perspective on the water resource situation in South Africa, and analyses the need for new approaches to water management in light of this situation. Demand side solutions through water conservation and demand management (WC/WDM) are discussed. Short, medium and long term measures are listed as part of a water conservation programme.
After completing the Water module, a student should be able to:
- Understand the basic freshwater ecosystem functioning, the different types of aquatic systems and the processes that drive aquatic ecosystem functions
- Discuss river water quality, in terms of its natural state and what influences changes
- Understand the issues surrounding pollution of aquatic systems
- Outline the causes of water quality problems associated with human settlements
- Outline how appropriate levels of services support waste prevention and waste minimisation policies
- Outline the problems and constraints with respect to the provision of these services
- Understand South Africa’s water resource situation with regard to availability, requirements and its use
- Define and show understanding of basic concepts and principles that underline WC/WDM
- Explain the importance of WC/WDM and its contribution to sustainability of water resource development and management
- Explain the philosophical approach of Integrated Water Resource Management
- Conceptualize typical flow chart of WC/WDM in a water supply chain and its key supporting activities
- Analyze water use situation and identify opportunities for WC/WDM
- Apply framework of action to develop a program on WC/WDM
- Be able to relate essential techniques such as life cycle assessment, pinch technology and cleaner production on its impact into WC/WDM
Students are also expected to apply the knowledge acquired in:
- the analysis of two case studies, one about water quality effects of settlements and another about industrial water management
- the analysis of newspaper articles about river pollution and municipal water services
- two self-tests
Sources of reference for Water Conservation, part of Module 3 (Water) of the "Environmental Engineering: Sustainable development in coastal areas".
Newspaper Articles related to Water Conservation, for Module 3 (Water) of the "Environmental Engineering: Sustainable development in coastal areas".
Course material for Module 3 for the course "Environmental Engineering - Sustainable Development in Coastal Areas"
Department for International Development