Evaluation of macro-invertebrates as bio-indicators of water quality and the assessment of the impact of the Klein Plaas dam on the Eerste River
Thesis (MScAgric (Conservation Ecology and Entomology)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.
A semi-arid country, like South Africa, with unpredictable seasonal rainfall, is subject to great scarcity in water and an ever-increasing demand from the rising human population. Therefore, efficient reservoirs as well as monitoring methods are needed to manage the South African water supply. This study was undertaken on the Eerste River in the Western Cape, South Africa, focusing on the impact of the Klein Plaas dam system on the benthic macroinvertebrates. The study also examined the use of benthic macroinvertebrates as bioindicators of water quality with special reference to the South African Scoring System Version 5(SASS5) that is currently being used nationally. The impoundment of the water, as well as the inter-basin transfer programme and the experimental cage-culture trout farm, all play a significant role in the disturbance impact of the dam on the Eerste River system. The disturbance is manifested as a drop in water quality that can be seen in the distribution of keystone species, changes in the riparian vegetation, as well as in physical-, chemical-, and biomonitoring evaluations. The study also indicated that the SASS5 is effective, but needs some adjustments, such as inclusion of a prediction phase, finer spatial-scale methodologies and greater consideration of the rarity of species.