Water Quality

J. Ayuk

jayuk@uwc.ac.za

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 14:00-15:00

Class Schedule: GIS LAB, 17:00 – 20:00

Text: The prescribed text which we are going to use throughout this module as our main guide is a WRC report written by Dallas and Day. The effect of water quality variables and their impacts on aquatic ecosystems. WRC TT224/04. 2004.

This resource is freely downloadable from the WRC website. Alternatively, copies could be downloaded from our Geoskills website. Refer to the Water Quality module on moodle and download the first lesson.

Lessons would include periodical PowerPoint presentations, classroom discussions /reviews from our main text (guide), group work/assignments.

Assessments shall take the form of quizzes (MCQs), Assignments, Presentations, Tests and a final examination paper.

As an introduction to this module, I advise you to download the following and read tonight for a complete overview of the topics expressed in the water quality module. It a good read of just 27 pages but very rich as a summary package.

http://www.dlist.org/sites/default/files/doclib/Module_3_Water_Quality_Core_Notes.pdf

 

Required and supplemental readings will be available when and where necessary and available.

Course Objective:

The goal of the course is to introduce students to the broad spectrum of water quality parameters most important in the field today. The class will use lecture format to provide basic background information about each parameter including behaviour in aquatic environment, how it fits into the water resource management, and why we care about it. Lecture outlines available below. Concepts will be related to current real world affairs in lectures, working with real water quality data and searching out water quality issues in the news.

Grading: This is, however, subject to review.

Assignments and Quizzes                      (60%)

Term Paper / Exam                                (40%)

Semester Topic Outline

AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS AND WATER QUALITY

WAT714 - Water Quality offers a detailed exploration of the physical, chemical, and biological water quality parameters fundamental in the water quality field. The course is intended to provide a scientific overview of the spectrum of water quality parameters important in surface water systems today.

 

Course Objectives: With increasing development in SA watersheds and decreasing water supplies in many areas due to drought, protecting the quality of our water resources is becoming ever more critical. If we are to successfully mitigate damage to our surface water resources from our social practices, it is essential that professionals in scientific, management, and private sector careers have an understanding of fundamental water quality issues.

 

The majority of class time will be spent exploring the full spectrum of physical, chemical, and biological water quality parameters that impair surface water systems in the South Africa. We will discuss the basic attributes of each parameter, how it is measured, and why it is of concern. Emphasis will be placed on the fact that water quality is subjective and can only be conceptualized in the context of a beneficial use or in comparison to some determined reference condition. Case studies of impairment in South Africa will also be explored to help solidify the connection between scientific concepts and tangible problems we can identify with.

The outline and the time schedules for topics of the course has been shown in the table below

WEEK

 

ACTIVITIES

ACTIVITIES

Wk 1

14 & 16 July

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

INDUCTION

Wk 2

21 July

AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS AND WATER QUALITY

The structure of aquatic communities;

The effects of water quality on aquatic ecosystems;

The effects of some physical attributes and chemical constituents on aquatic organisms;

Categories of water quality variables;

Synergism and antagonism;

Tolerance limits and their significance;

"Water quality" as a human construct;

The effects of altered water quality on aquatic ecosystems

ASSESSMENT OF THE EFFECTS OF WATER QUALITY ON AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS

Biological integrity or ecosystem health;

Biological indicators; Bioassessment systems;

Data interpretation and ecological significance

Wk2

23 July

TEMPERATURE

Anthropogenic causes of water temperature change;

Effects of temperature changes on water quality;

Effects of temperature changes on aquatic biota;

Assessment of temperature effects on aquatic biota;

Current standards in South Africa

TURBIDITY AND SUSPENDED SOLIDS

Measuring light penetration and turbidity

Potential sources of increased turbidity and suspended solids

Effects of increased turbidity on aquatic organisms

Current standards in South Africa

Wk3

28 July

pH AND ALKALINITY

pH, alkalinity and buffering capacity

Natural conditions

The effects of change in pH

Human influences on the pH and alkalinity of inland waters

Effects of altered pH on aquatic biotas

Current pH standards in South Africa

CONDUCTIVITY, TOTAL DISSOLVED SOLIDS (TDS) AND MAJOR IONS

TDS and aquatic environments

Influences of increased TDS levels on aquatic ecosystems

Tolerances of freshwater organisms to increased salinities

Current standards in South Africa

Individual ions

Proportional concentrations of the major ions

Wk3

30 July

DISSOLVED OXYGEN

Measuring dissolved oxygen

Factors modifying dissolved oxygen concentration

The effects of dissolved oxygen concentration on aquatic biotas

Current standards in South Africa

ORGANIC ENRICHMENT

Sources of organic enrichment

Effects of organic enrichment on water quality

Effects of organic enrichment on aquatic biota

Wk4

4 August

NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT 83

Sources of nutrients

Major nutrients and their effect on aquatic ecosystems

Management options for reducing nutrient enrichment

Current standards in South Africa

BIOCIDES 95

Environmental contamination in South Africa 96

Toxic effects of biocides in aquatic ecosystems 96

Bioaccumulation 98

Genetic resistance to pesticides 99

The nature, modes of action and toxicity of biocides 100

Endocrine disruptors, hormone mimics or environmental oestrogens

Practical issues 102

Current standards in South Africa 103

Wk4

6 August

TRACE METALS 105

Characteristics and modes of action of various metals

The toxicity and uptake of trace metals in the environment

Ecological changes in waters receiving trace metal pollution

Risk assessment

Current standards in South Africa

AGRICULTURE 121

Effects of agricultural activities on water quality

Effects of agricultural activities on aquatic biota

Management options for reducing the impact of agricultural activities on

aquatic ecosystems

 

Wk5

11 August

FORESTRY 127

Effects of forestry activities on water quality 127

Effects of forestry activities on water quantity 129

Effects of forestry activities on aquatic biota 129

Management options for reducing the impact of forestry activities on aquatic ecosystems 130

AQUACULTURE 133

Effects of aquacultural activities on water quality 133

Effects of aquacultural activities on aquatic biota 136

Options for reducing the impact of aquacultural activities on aquatic ecosystems 137

 

Wk5

13 August

ENGINEERING AND CONSTRUCTION 139

The effects of different types of construction activities 139

 

RIVER REGULATION, ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS AND INTER-BASIN

TRANSFERS 143

River regulation and modification of environmental flows 144

Environmental flows and their assessment 147

Linking water quantity and water quality 147

Inter-basin transfers 148

Wk5

13 August

INDUSTRIAL EFFLUENTS

Industries potentially impacting on aquatic ecosystems

MINING 157

Effects of mining 157

Current Research 160

Wk6

18 August

URBAN RUNOFF 163

Pollutants contributing to urban runoff 164

Effects of urban runoff on aquatic ecosystems

 

Wk6

22 August

EXAMS

 

 

 



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