North Peace Cricket Foundation has no facilities to play on

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Cricket Foundation was set to start their season on Saturday but had one problem: no place to play.Club President Joel David explained that with all of the summer sports going on there is no field the club can play on until the end of May or start of June.The cricket season will last for two months in the summer and has had growing popularity. This season the foundation will add a fifth team to their league.- Advertisement -David hopes for the first game to be played by May 27th.For more information and to sign up for the cricket season visit the Fort St. John Cricket Foundation Facebook page at:https://www.facebook.com/North-peace-Cricket-Foundation-NPCF-1753531598240769/last_img

Judge orders L.A. to delay living wage

first_img“We’re not asking for anything extra. We’re looking for the basics: food on the table and a roof over your head.” The lawsuit is the latest twist in the fight about the living-wage law. The City Council approved a first ordinance in November, requiring hotels near LAX to increase workers’ pay to $9.39 an hour with health insurance, or $10.64 an hour without health benefits. Supporting council members argued the city can require the higher wages because the hotels directly benefit from their proximity to LAX and the city-sponsored airport modernization. But business groups said the city has no right to set worker wages, and they worried the law could spread to other city hotels. The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce teamed up with hotels and spent $800,000 to gather more than 103,000 signatures to put the ordinance on the May ballot, with the hope that voters would overturn the law. To head off an expensive election, the City Council pledged to repeal the ordinance if the hotels agreed to a compromise that would include dropping the referendum effort. A new law was introduced in mid-February that kept the living wage requirements but also promised $1million for street improvements near the hotels and $50,000 to develop a marketing plan for a new Airport Hospitality Enhancement Zone. Despite the sweeteners, hotels and business groups denounced the new ordinance, which the City Council passed on a 10-3 vote and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed on Monday. On Tuesday, the hotels sued the city, charging that the City Council violated state law on referendums by repealing the first ordinance – which stopped the referendum – and then adopting essentially the same ordinance a few weeks later. State law says a city has to wait a year before re-introducing an ordinance that has been repealed after a successful referendum, attorney Paul Gough argued for the hotels. “The city will likely argue that it added a number of provisions that make ordinance No.2 `essentially different’ than ordinance No.1,” Gough wrote in the lawsuit. “However, even the most cursory review of those provisions review that they are mere bells and whistles added as an afterthought and in no way change the essence of the ordinance from the prior (repealed) version.” However, Deputy City Attorney Heather Davis said the second ordinance differs significantly because it adds city-funded street improvements and worker benefits. “When we enacted the new ordinance, we took into consideration the concerns of business.” Janavs seemed to lean toward the hotels’ argument on Wednesday, saying there was evidence that the two ordinances are similar. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The decision means the 13 hotels along the Century Boulevard corridor will not have to raise worker pay yet, and the business community – which has opposed to the ordinance – can postpone plans to gather signatures for a new referendum on the law. “The City Council gave us no choice but this action,” hotels spokesman Harvey Englander said of the lawsuit. “The hotel and business community has always been willing to sit down and work with the City Council to develop a system that would work for everybody.” Outside the courthouse, however, hotel workers and clergy criticized the hotels for challenging the law. “We’re asking hotels to honor the living wage so we can have a decent life,” said Patricia Delgado, a front desk clerk at the Westin Hotel on Century Boulevard. Hotels near Los Angeles International Airport won the first round Wednesday in their legal challenge to a “living wage” ordinance, as a judge ordered the city to delay its implementation. Judge Dzintra Janavs said she will consider the ordinance’s legality in May. Until then, she ordered the city to put the effort on hold and delay publication of the new law. “I just don’t see the urgency here of having it implemented,” Janavs said of the law. last_img

Arsenal’s new Fabregas? Why the Gunners NEED to sign this German star – Young Guns blog view

first_img1 Arsenal fan and Young Guns blogger Jamie Sanderson explains that, while the Gunners need reinforcements elsewhere, they can’t afford to pass up the chance to sign a certain German talent…We all know the areas that Arsenal need to strengthen during this month’s transfer window. It’s no big secret.But while a centre-back and a holding midfielder are absolute must-have signings, there are potential bargains around this time of year, with many players’ contracts running down.Borussia Dortmund ace Ilkay Gundogan is just one of those players, with negotiations over a new deal stalling in recent weeks – and Arsenal have been linked with a move.It’s well known that Dortmund will not sell unless they have to and with Gundogan being a forward-thinking midfielder, many Gooners are not keen on pursuing him.However, if there’s even a sniff of getting the German, we need to go all out. He’s an outstanding player and would take our game to the next level.Gundogan is very much like Cesc Fabregas, a player who can see passes, tackle and run a midfield in a way Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta don’t seem to be able to.With his contract in its last 18 months and no sign of an extension being agree, a bid of around £16m is reported to be enough to land him – absolutely nothing. To put that into perspective, it’s the same amount we spent on Danny Welbeck.We need defensive reinforcements for sure, but bagging Gundogan before the end of the month could be even smarter business.Arsenal fans, do you agree? Comment below… Arsenal have been linked with Ilkay Gundogan last_img read more

Business expansions down

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Business expansions plunged 27.5 percent in Southern California last year, but Los Angeles County remained the nation’s top industrial market and there are signs that activity is picking up, according to a study released Tuesday. The drop came as industrial vacancy rates fell to record low levels and the office vacancy rate continued to decline, said the report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. Nevertheless, the total investment value of business growth edged up to $1.9 billion from $1.8 billion because strong demand for large blocs of space pushed up rents. Last year across the six county region from Ventura to San Diego counties, the LAEDC logged 252 major business expansions leases of at least $1 million or a building of at least 20,000 square feet 96 fewer than in 2004. It notes that the dip is not necessarily bad news but an indication that business caution and higher costs put the brakes on growth. “What we are hearing from our regional managers is that all of a sudden activity has picked up and they are our real-time indicators of what’s going on,” said LAEDC chief economist Jack Kyser. “Expansion sprung back to life.” It is being driven by both local businesses and firms expressing interest about moving into the area. Last year three of Southern California’s major projects were relocations from states that had been scoring California jobs Colorado, Nevada and Texas. But a scarcity of land for new commercial development poses a growing challenge and concern for the area, the report said, and rising construction materials costs are compounding the situation. “Basically Los Angeles County is about built out and what we are seeing is this slow erosion of industrial land. It is being converted to mixed-use retail and some residential (uses) and this is a concern,” Kyser said. For example, during 2005, industrial building permits valued at $755.8 million were issued in the five-county Los Angeles area, down from $888.9 million a year earlier. During the 2005 final quarter the county’s industrial vacancy rate was 2 percent and some submarkets were lower. The county has been the nation’s top industrial market, as measured by the vacancy rate, for three consecutive years, Kyser said. The nation’s No. 2 industrial market is the Inland Empire. At the end of last year there were 915,900 manufacturing jobs in Ventura, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and San Diego counties, the largest concentration in the nation, Kyser said. Robert L. Scott, chairman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, agrees that the region’s stock of industrial land faces severe pressures. “That’s a disturbing trend because the industrial base is what’s providing the core of your economy. These are good, well-paying jobs,” he said. Last year brought a mixed bag of activity. The LAEDC analysis found that: In Los Angeles County, there were 128 major expansion, 50 fewer than in 2005. The cities of Los Angeles and Irvine remained the leaders, with 28 and 26 major projects, respectively, in 2005. Ventura County’s major projects count slipped to 13 from 15 in 2004. The Riverside-San Bernardino area experienced a modest increase in activity, with 38 major expansions in 2005 compared with 37 in 2004. Orange County’s major project count dropped by 45 to a total of 73 in 2005. Professional services, including accounting, law, architecture and engineering as well as personnel services, posted the largest number of major expansions in 2005 with 52, up 11 from 2004. Logistics came in second with 26 major expansions, down by eight from 2004. And Los Angeles’ flagship entertainment industry had 11 major expansions in 2005, down from 12 in 2004. Aerospace/defense and hi-tech both had nine major expansions compared to 10 in 2004. Scott said L.A. city officials are aware of the problems posed by the eroding industrial base, and that the Planning Commission intends to hold a special meeting to discuss industrial zoning. “Deputy Mayor Bud Ovrum is very engaged in that topic,” he said. “It’s too bad it has to become a disaster before we do something about it.” Ovrum said the Planning Commission will hold a special meeting March 16 to discuss industrial zoning issues. “We need to recycle some of these older areas to get more productivity out of them. That’s a real hot-button issue for us,” he said. greg.wilcox@dailynews.com (818) 713-3743last_img read more

GAA: Disappointment for Letterkenny Gaels Seniors after clash with Fanad Gaels

first_imgLetterkenny Gaels Club Notes: Both the Seniors and Junior B teams faced disappointment when they were defeated in their battles over the weekend.It was a disappointing weekend for our senior footballers and Junior B team when both were defeated in their respective matches.On Saturday evening the senior lads were defeated by the minimum away to Fanad Gaels and on Sunday the Junior B team lost out to Downings. Despite losing, the lads should be proud of making the final and hopefully will be back stronger next year. This weekend the senior team are fixed to play at home to Urris with a 5pm throw in on Saturday evening. Please see Facebook later in the week for confirmation of fixture.All managers are requested to keep in mind that text for the Donegal GAA Yearbook will be required in the coming weeks. Please forward to pro.letterkennygaels.donegal@gaa.ieLetterkenny Gaels thespians have been busy at work over the last number of months preparing for the upcoming comedy ‘It’s The Real Mc Coy’ which will be presented at the Club House in mid October.Tickets are now on sale from Arena 7, Swilly Drive, Sweeneys Spar, Ballyraine, Murry’s Pharmacy, Ramelton, Committee Members or by calling 087 1332680. Given the success of last years show we would advise early purchase of tickets. Please see club Facebook and webpage for dates and further information. Bígí pairteach i gcuriarracht domhanda chun Gaeilge a labhairt ar feadh 8 lá gan stad!Conradh na Gaeilge’s Comhrá 16 is happening soon. Come to the Clubhouse this Saturday from 12 – 1pm to help us break a world record for speaking Irish! Over 100 groups speaking Irish over 170 hours all around the world. Beidh craic, comhrá agus cupan tae ar fáil!Well done and thanks to our Camogs who took part in the Donegal Camogie Car Wash fundraiser which took place last weekend.The GAA Adult + Cards are now available to club members and can be purchased online. The purchasing of the card has benefits for both the holder and our Club. For more details on this please see Club Facebook page.Club merchandise, which includes training tops, track-suits, jerseys, hats etc. can be purchased in Michael Murphy Sports and Leisure. The outdoor training for the Camogs has concluded for this year. Indoor training will resume for all age groups in the LYIT on Friday 4th November.The outdoor underage football training has concluded for the season also. Please see Facebook in the coming weeks for dates and venues for indoor training.The indoor underage hurling will resume on 20th October from 6.30-7.30pm in the Aura.Bingo continues every Monday in Arena 7. The Jackpot this week is €2850. Lines are €40 and Houses are €130. Doors from 8pm. Eyes down 9pm. All welcome. For regular club updates and photos see our club web page, Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @LetterkennyGaelGAA: Disappointment for Letterkenny Gaels Seniors after clash with Fanad Gaels was last modified: October 12th, 2016 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:comedy ‘It’s The Real Mc Coy’Conradh na GaeilgeGAA NEWS: LETTERKENNY GAELS CLUB NOTESlast_img read more

NEIL LENNON: ‘I’M TOTALLY COMMITTED TO CELTIC’

first_imgCeltic boss Neil Lennon has committed to staying at the club – despite bomb threats from bigots.“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, but I’m totally committed to the club, the fans and the players,” he said at a press conference for Sunday’s Old Firm derby.“It’s my most difficult week in the job. We all know why it’s happening.” Lennon has been targeted by loyalists before.In 2002 he was substituted at half time playing for Northern Ireland after a UVF plot to kill him was uncovered by Special Branch.Bullets were sent to the former Celtic captain earlier in the season, while a suspicious package addressed to him was also intercepted.And parcel bombs were this week sent to Lennon, Paul McBride QC and Labour politician Trish Godman. Lennon was asked if he would be a target at any other club.“It wouldn’t, no,” he said. “And it’s not because it’s my aggressive behaviour on the pitch any more.“A lot was said about that when I played and I think you all know the reasons why these things are happening now.“It’s good that people are talking about it and we will get something done about it.”Asked about those who want to kill him, he said: “I am baffled that my persona can cause this type of poison in people. “I am a football manager, a football person, not a politician.“I have never talked about politics or talked about religion, I just talked about football as a sport and predominately for the good of the game up here.“I have tried to be as positive as I can about all things in Scottish football.“I have had spats with people, yes, but that’s just in my nature and I don’t think that will change. “I think it is pretty unprecedented what has happened and I hope it is not going to get out of hand.“Anyone in any walk of life shouldn’t have to deal with something like this.“It is uncomfortable, you see your face every hour on the hour on the news and, after a while, you start thinking ‘is that me they are talking about?’“It is disconcerting and uncomfortable, but I am well looked after by the people in charge and there is an ongoing investigation so I don’t want to comment too much on that.”The Co Armagh man said the threats would not force him out of the club.“My life has changed a bit, but I have tried not to change it too much,” he added.“I am not under armed guard or anything like that, but we have had to curtail a few things and change things about my lifestyle, which is unfortunate. But I am hoping things can be brought to a head.“I’d like to thank the police for all their briefing and the professionalism they have shown and the security they have given me over the last week, 10 days, they have been absolutely fantastic and made life as easy as possible under the circumstances.“I’ve had this for 10 years, but I don’t want to say you get used to it, because you never do.”Asked if he regretted taking the job, he added: “You get an opportunity to manage Celtic once in a lifetime. I would have regretted it the rest of my life if I hadn’t taken it.”NEIL LENNON: ‘I’M TOTALLY COMMITTED TO CELTIC’ was last modified: April 23rd, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Former Councillor calls for further action on eradication of Japanese Knotweed

first_imgFormer Letterkenny Town Councillor Sean O’Donnell has called for the eradication of invasive plant species to be adopted as an objective of the County Development Plan 2018 – 2024.The most problematic non-native species is Japanese Knotweed, which is difficult to eradicate completely.Since last September, Donegal County Council has established a 4 Year Invasive Alien Plant Species Treatment Programme in which each infestation will need to be treated for a minimum of four years in succession to ensure eradication. They take into account the pesticide used, the time of year in which to treat it and focus on the underground rhizome as opposed to just the aerial parts. O’Donnell says that the land use objectives of the plan and planning practices should be cognisant of the spread of such species and militate against it.He suggests a systematic programme be put in place to help curb the plant, and asks for improved knowledge and dissemination of information to the public on how to deal with the species.Sean O’DonnellThe ability to recognise the plant, the best methods and herbicides we can use to eradicate them, and the most effective time of year to treat the plants will have to be considered, says O’Donnell.He also highlights the “don’ts” that contribute to the spread of the plants Do not strimDo not disturb the soil for seven metres around the plant.Do not attempt to dig up the root system.Do not cut back and leave the cuttings on the ground.Do not compost the cuttings, or put them in a bin/dump.Do not ignore it.Farmers in particular should be aware of their obligations under regulation 49-50 of the European Communities (Bird and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 says O’Donnell, and asks that workshops and training be provided to front line staff such as those carrying out the treatment processes, and the private and public hedge cutting operators.He also advises that Japanese Knotweed be included on the list of noxious weeds, and suggests that Teagasc would be a valuable partner in the bid to eradicate these plants.Other invasive plant species recorded in Donegal include; Giant Hogweed, which can cause harm to human health, and Himalayan Balsan, which poses a threat to the environment and biodiversity.If you become aware of any type of invasive alien plant species including Knotweed along a public road, please report it by contacting the Council in any of the following ways:Report it online at www.donegalcoco.ieBy email: info@donegalcoco.ieBy phone: 074 91 53900 Former Councillor calls for further action on eradication of Japanese Knotweed was last modified: August 13th, 2017 by Elaine McCalligShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Donegal County Counciljapanese knotweedletterkennysean o donnelllast_img read more

River Valley FFA officer retreat

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On the 14th and 15th of July, the 2019-2020 River Valley FFA officer team went to Indian lake for their annual Officer Retreat. Not only did we plan for the upcoming year, we also discussed our future goals for the chapter, followed with a great dinner and swimming in the lake. We had a great time getting to know each other, doing some team bonding activities and getting some group pictures. As an officer team, we are ready to serve our chapter to the best of our ability and can’t wait to see what the future year of the River Valley FFA chapter holds.last_img

Awaiting Day Zero in Cape Town

first_imgResilient Design: Water in a Drought-Prone EraIn the West, Drought Ends ‘Era of the Lawn’A New Strategy for Drought-Stressed CitiesFloating Solar: A Win-Win for Drought-Stricken Lakes The future is unknownLonger-term, a changing climate may well add to Cape Town’s water pressures.“The models agree that Cape Town will become hotter over the next century,” says Peter Johnston of the University of Cape Town’s Climate Systems Analysis Group. “Most of the models — but not all — predict that it will become drier, too.” Increasing the city’s water resilience will mean expanding supplies from sources like desalination plants that are not as influenced by the vagaries of rainfall as the current dams. But these are expensive and energy-intensive, and residents will pay more, perhaps significantly more, for water.The government will have to roll out new infrastructure amid considerable uncertainty about rainfall in the coming years, running the risk of over- or under-spending. Willem Landman of the University of Pretoria says that meteorologists “can make a reliable weather forecast that works for five days” and climate scientists “can model the average climate conditions a hundred years from now with a great degree of confidence. But decadal predictions? Forget about it. We don’t know how to set the models up. We can’t say what the rainfall is going to be 10 years from now.”The question of whether Cape Town has moved into a new, climate-changed, normal, with more frequent droughts, is not easy to answer. “We’re out of the envelope of certainty,” says Christine Colvin. “Cape Town is not special. Many other cities will face these challenges in coming years.” RELATED ARTICLES Circumstances are considered very rareThe southwestern part of South Africa has a Mediterranean climate much like the central coast of California, with hot, dry summers and cool, rainy winters (June through August.) The winter rains fill the six large dams around the city that form the core of the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS), which services the vast majority of the city’s residential and industrial water users, as well as farming areas and smaller towns nearby.The winter rains are generally very reliable. Using historical rainfall data, Piotr Wolski of the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town has determined that a multi-year drought as severe as the current one would only be expected once every few hundred years, perhaps less than once in a millennium.The Theewaterskloof dam, Cape Town’s main water supply with a capacity of nearly 17 billion cubic feet. In late February, its reservoir’s level fell to 11%. (Photo: 6000.co.za via Flickr)The ongoing drought in the catchments of the WCWSS dams, he writes, “is indeed very, very rare, and thus very, very severe.” The historical rainfall record indicates that, having had two poor rainfall years in a row (2015 and 2016), the chances of a third bad year — especially one as bad as 2017 — were extremely remote.In addition to historical data pointing to the extremely low likelihood of 2017’s winter being dry, the South African Weather Service modeled a three-month seasonal forecast for the winter of 2017 that predicted higher than average rainfall. Notwithstanding that seasonal rainfall forecasts for the Cape region are notoriously unreliable, it appears that officials were left feeling less urgency to impose hugely unpopular water restrictions or push forward with expensive water infrastructure projects early in the year.Experts have long warned that Cape Town would find itself in a water crisis caused by converging drought, population growth, and the failure to secure new water resources. But because of uncertainties in water consumption rates and in weather and climate prediction, it’s been hard to fix a date.“Water security has always been seen as ‘important’ in Cape Town, but until recently it has not been seen as ‘urgent,’” says Christine Colvin, head of freshwater programs with WWF-South Africa. “We have an HIV/AIDS epidemic, an education crisis, massive unemployment — these are understandably ‘urgent’ to politicians and have competed successfully for attention and funding. Add to this South Africa’s fractured government institutions, corruption, and the fact that the national government is responsible for bulk water infrastructure like dams, but municipalities are responsible for water distribution and demand management, and you have a recipe for inaction on major water projects.”In addition, Colvin says, the City of Cape Town raises significant revenue from water sales to residents, so it has never seriously incentivized individuals to conserve. How did Cape Town get in this jam?Cape Town’s predicament provides a global warning about the difficulty of ensuring water resilience in a warming world, even if, as with Cape Town, climate change is firmly on the agenda of city managers. Most climate models predict that the Cape Town region will become not only warmer, but drier, which bodes ill for a metropolitan area whose population has roughly doubled to 4 million in the past three decades and continues to grow at 1% to 2% annually.And Cape Town’s rushed efforts to boost water supply by tapping into aquifers, including some in national parks and provincial nature reserves, are damaging valuable ecosystems and putting rare species at risk of extinction. The agricultural sector, including the Cape region’s world-renowned wine industry, has been forced to sharply cut back on irrigation, which is reducing production and leaving tens of thousands of people out of work.So how did Cape Town, one of the best-managed and wealthiest cities in Africa, find itself on the brink of running dry? The city has, after all, won awards for its work on climate change. South Africa has some of the world’s most detailed, progressive water laws and deep expertise in water science and management, climate science, and meteorology. The city has mapped projected sea level rise and convened countless climate change adaptation planning sessions. Last year, Cape Town’s mayor said, “We cannot plan anything without factoring in the impact of climate change.”A simple (and perhaps simplistic) answer to the cause of the current crisis is that rainfall was well below average for three years in a row, that no one could have or did predict that, and thus serious action to reduce water consumption — which should have begun in 2016 — came too late. The crisis has exposed significant weaknesses in scientists’ ability to forecast weather on a seasonal scale, which is when it matters to city managers and farmers, and predict rainfall on an annual or decadal scale, which is when it matters to developers of large-scale infrastructure, such as raising dam heights and building desalination plants. Backed by the iconic Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa’s second-largest metropolis, seduces increasing numbers of international travelers. Its charismatic neighborhoods, bright beaches, and breathtaking natural landscapes garner shelves-full of tourism awards and terabytes of glowing Instagram posts.Recently, Cape Town also has become infamous as the home of “Day Zero,” the day when most of the city’s taps are predicted to run dry. With its major, rain-fed supply dams dangerously low after three years of drought, most of the city’s 4 million-plus residents — some rich, many desperately poor — have been facing the prospect of lining up at emergency water distribution points to collect a daily ration of just 6.6 gallons per person sometime before June or July. That’s when winter rains normally begin filling the reservoirs of this Southern Hemisphere city.Now, largely thanks to radical conservation efforts — in January, the average Cape Town resident’s daily water quota was just one-third the amount used by the typical Californian at the height of that state’s 2016 drought — the city has reduced water consumption by 57%. Day Zero has been pushed back to July 9. And if the citizens of Cape Town (myself among them) continue to save as we have been, we should make it to the winter rainy season without having to line up for water. Rare plants abound, pressure for new wells intenseCape Town is situated in the heart of the Cape Floristic Region, a distinct area of extraordinary biological diversity that contains 9,500 species of plants, about 70 percent of which are endemic. The Cape Floristic Region’s dominant vegetation type, popularly known as fynbos, contains many noteworthy species that are descended from ancient lineages. “These plants are like the Mona Lisas, the Rembrandts of the botanical world,” says William Bond, a botanist at the University of Cape Town.Many of these plants are also dependent on seeps — permanently wet areas where underground aquifers naturally spill out on to the surface. Some are so rare that they only occupy single, tiny sites. “Drilling a single borehole in the wrong place could cause the extinction of a species,” says Bond.Lampranthus schlechteri, a rare, native plant species found in the Wemmershoek Vlei wetland, which was recently damaged by efforts to drill for groundwater.It may already be too late for the Wemmershoek Erica (Erica bakeri), a diminutive heath-like plant with tiny pale-pink, bell-shaped flowers. About two weeks ago, the rushed construction of a water borehole and a pipeline trench commissioned by the municipality of Stellenbosch severely damaged a wetland in a conservation area. The wetland is the last known habitat for the Wemmershoek Erica, and one of the last known habitats for other critically endangered plants. “Goodbye… How many thoughtless flushes were you worth?” tweeted Cape Town ecologist Jasper Slingsby.Notwithstanding the environmental impacts, there is enormous political pressure to proceed with borehole drilling. Biologists with the provincial nature conservation agency, CapeNature, have been forbidden to speak to the media. Nonetheless, documentation of environmental harm is leaking out: a spill of drilling mud that fouled a long section of a pristine river; maps showing more than 200 planned borehole sites in ecologically sensitive areas; and consultants’ reports showing drilling foam and toxic pump-test water spilling into nature reserves.“We shouldn’t go blundering into these natural areas, but now it’s like the drillers have a blank check to do that,” says Bond.Slingsby worries that once the boreholes are drilled, it will be politically difficult to turn them off, even if they dry up fragile wetland ecosystems. “I don’t know of any place that has given up water sources like that,” he says.center_img Aggressive action came last yearBut as the magnitude of the growing water shortage became clear last year, Cape Town officials responded with an aggressive conservation campaign. Last June, all use of municipal water outside the home was banned, meaning no car washing or garden irrigation. In September, residents were limited to 23 gallons per person per day for all uses (washing, drinking, and toilet-flushing included) and at the beginning of February this year, the daily personal quota was reduced to a mere 13 gallons. Water pressure has been reduced across the city, slowing the flow from residents’ taps. And the municipality has installed tens of thousands of water-restriction devices on high-use households and has sharply increased punitive water tariffs for heavy users.As a result of these and other measures, the city’s water consumption has fallen from 317 million gallons per day in early 2015 to about 137 million gallons per day. Day Zero has been pushed back from April 12 to July 9.Cape Town is now scrambling to augment its rain-fed dams with other sources, mindful that a further year of drought is not impossible. Government has identified various options, including desalinating seawater, reclaiming wastewater (i.e. purifying sewage, as is successfully done in some other cities), and tapping underground aquifers. But desalination plants are expensive to build and operate, wastewater treatment plants are time-consuming to construct, and so the city has prioritized the hasty drilling of dozens of boreholes. Many of the drilling sites are in protected areas that are government-owned, which simplifies access.Drilling boreholes and constructing pipelines, especially in conservation areas, would usually require environmental impact assessments and detailed environmental management plans. Because of the drought emergency, however, the provincial government has significantly relaxed these requirements, to the increasing concern of biologists and conservationists. This post originally appeared at Yale Environment 360. Impact in agrarian areas under-reportedAlmost all the Cape Town drought media coverage has focused on the city itself. Few reporters have paid attention to the rural areas around it, enormous acreages of which are covered in economically valuable vineyards, olive groves, and fruit orchards that require irrigation from the same six large dams and associated pipelines that sustain Cape Town. Farmers in the region have had their water allowance cut 60% to 87%, meaning that almost all irrigation was halted on February 1, even as many trees still carried fruit.The Western Cape provincial government has estimated that 50,000 agricultural jobs will be lost this year, mostly among seasonal fruit-pickers, leading to about 260,000 people requiring poverty-relief assistance. Most of South Africa’s wheat is grown near Cape Town, and many wheat farmers will not harvest a crop this season. Agri Western Cape, a farmers’ union, says that farmers around Cape Town have lost about $1.2 billion due to the drought. Twenty-two percent of the sheep in the region have been culled because of a lack of fodder.Francois Viljoen of Vinpro, an organization representing vine-growers and winemakers, estimates an overall harvest reduction of 15% to 25% this year. Even if good rains fall in winter, “we will see a carryover effect next growing season, with reduced yields, because the vines have not been able to build up reserves during the drought.” Because of smaller harvests, seasonal fruit-pickers will again have reduced income, with significant effects on poor rural communities.No one can say how long Cape Town’s water crisis will last. Even if good rains fall this winter, tight use restrictions will likely remain in place indefinitely; the dams have been drawn down so far that it may take years to refill them, and water augmentation projects may take years to scale up. So, disaster averted? Nothing to see here anymore? Far from it. The city’s efforts on the supply side of the water equation have been far less successful than its work on consumption. Even if the drought comes to an end in 2018 — and few experts are willing to predict that — the effects of this water crisis will be felt for years, possibly decades. Adam Welz is a South African writer, photographer and filmmaker based in Cape Town. He writes about international and African wildlife issues for Yale Environment 360.last_img read more