27 November 2017

South Africa: Cape Water Crisis - Setting the Record Straight On Aquifers and Saline Intrusion

opinion

The drought slowly strangling Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape Province has got us all in a tizz. And we are not helped by uninformed fear-mongering that dominates both the conventional and social media. By ROGER PARSONS.

Nate Silver wrote an excellent book in 2012 called The Signal and the Noise in which he explores why so many predictions fail. Being able to sift out reliable and useful data from large data sets founded on poor assumptions and uncritical reviews seems to be key. At this time, the noise around the drought is deafening - and I was particularly irked the other day by a supposed water expert writing about the logic of the Ghyben-Herzberg principle and dangers of saline intrusion into aquifers the City of Cape Town intends to develop to augment supplies from their failing surface water resources. Modern information technology allows us all to have a say, irrespective of how inaccurate or misleading our opinion may be.

An astute sign on the back of a Golden Arrow's bus, saving water one dirty bus at a time, got me thinking. Maybe I could tackle the inaccuracies and misperceptions about groundwater - one myth at a...

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