Where there is a river, people will build a dam. South Africa lies in the arid latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, where the geomorphology deprives the country of the profusion of natural lakes found elsewhere on earth.
Conserving water to serve a burgeoning population’s farming, industrial and personal water needs, has brought the country many dams, big and small. Still, less than 4 percent of the annual rainfall arrives in the nation’s dams, where evaporation (and other losses) again removes about 15 percent of that holding.
In and around dams the process of eutrophication brings excessive richness of nutrients due to run-off from the land. This causes the dense growth of plant life seen here.
The SASOL Dam and Wetland in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens represents that small dam water reserve in the country normally unused or little used by people. It is there for (some of) “the other species” living on the land, to retain their marginal presence and for people to witness their own magnanimous gesture to their fellow species.
This dam is a beautiful place, good for the soul. Go sit there quietly. Contemplate the blessing of water and kindness to nature (Fuggle and Rabie, 1983).