Rivers for Life #3

Filed in Spirit by on October 19, 2016 • views: 3216


Extreme Cape Town swimmer Andrew Chin and Mandy Uys will once again take to the water next week and swim between 70-100 km of the Orange River as part of his campaign to heighten awareness around the state of our country’s rivers and the urgent need to conserve them.

Facebook Page: Rivers for Life

Andrew plans to start his swim on the Orange River at the Vanderkloof Dam in the Northern Cape. He will proceed to Orania for the second leg of his swim, and continue on to Hopetown, Prieska, Groblershoop, Upington and Kakamas before concluding his swim near Onseepkans.
This will be the third event of the “Rivers for Life” extreme swimming challenge that was launched by the Capetonian in January 2015.The challenge involves a small group of athletes that is attempting to swim a distance of 100 to 350km in a major river in each of South Africa’s nine provinces.
The first swim took place in the Wilge River in the Free State in January 2015, during which Andrew Chin and Toks Viviers swam 200km over a period of 10 days.

In October 2015 high water pollution levels and exceptionally low flows forced him and fellow swimmer Henko Roukema to abandon their quest to swim the length of the Berg River. They had set off on an initiative swimming the Berg from source to sea, but the polluted water caused such illness in the team that they were forced to call off the swim after completing 135km of the river’s 200km length.

Putting their bodies on the line – correction – down the river

This unfortunate outcome did, however, serve to reinforce the central message of the “Rivers for Life” campaign, which is that our country’s rivers are in a severe state of deterioration.
During the Orange River swim Andrew is expecting to experience a relatively clean river, although low water levels and some pollution around riverside towns is anticipated.
Andrew plans to connect with community members as well as learners at local schools along the way, where he will be conducting short talks on the importance of our rivers and the role that everyone needs to play in looking after them.

WESSA is once again equipping Andrew with the skills required to conduct river health tests using the popular miniSASS citizen science tool, which is used to calculate a river health index based on the collection and identification of invertebrates (small aquatic insects) in a water sample. Andrew will be collecting data from the Orange River using this tool and the results will be uploaded to the www.minisass.org Google Earth map and database, where they will contribute to building a picture of the health of South Africa’s rivers.
WESSA strongly supports this initiative, which is in line with the organisation’s aim to promote public participation in caring for the earth. One of the key objectives of WESSA’s water programme is to ensure the health of strategic water catchments and rivers through the monitoring and reporting of the state of our country’s water resources.

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