Introduction- the Birth-source Fountain-Origin Park connected through the Freshwater corridors of the Fountain-river Sanctuaries to the Birthplace of Humankind Wild-life Nature Reserve
A project to save the fountain-rivers that originate on the Witwatersrand by protecting their sources in a proposed Birth-source of Humankind Freshwater Reserve formed around their spring origins and incorporating the ridges of the Witwatersand as nature area. This Fountain Park at the top sources connecting to a large Birthplace of Humankind Nature Reserve at their base where three of these rivers merge, joining through River Sanctuaries that incorporate the whole length of their flow, riparian zones forming wild-life corridors to connect the different natural areas into a large grassland reserve to save and protect the endangered and unique Highveld Grassland Biome.
The Fountain Birth-Source of Humankind, a Freshwater Source Park joined through the Nature Corridors of the River- Source Sanctuaries joined through the Nature Corridors of the River- Source Sanctuaries with the Birthplace of Humankind Wildlife Nature Reserve
Proposal for creating a large Freshwater National Park formed around the natural spring-water system of central Gauteng safeguarding the riverside heritage sites representing the origin of Humankind. Two National Parks at the source of the Rivers and at their confluence connected by the Nature Sanctuaries formed around the riverine corridors, safeguarding the rivers and underground water system of the Witwatersrand. Protecting the ridges as well as the fountain sources of the rivers originating there with Sanctuaries flowing out along with the waters as they merge to form Spruits and rivers, to include their riparian zones and the connected Grasslands that are all severally threatened by human activities in this largest industrial powerhouse of Africa where they have a very high conservation value.
The Hennops River-valley forms the base part of the proposed Sanctuary, timelessly the Hennops river has carved an ancient and spectacular coarse here through the solid rock foothills of the Schurweberg, meaning rough mountain, the extreme rockiness of the area has saved its grassland from agricultural destruction. It remains largely intact still harbouring some very old trees, plants and bulbs as well as a highly diverse insect and small animal life, some larger ones like Eland and Kudu are also present most from precious wild gene-pools having found a last refuge here. By returning the other original species some severally threatened and adding to this existing bio-diversity a magnificent Wildlife park can be created in the heart of Gauteng.
Starting the Birth-source and Birthplace of Humankind Reserves and their connecting Freshwater River Corridors with the Fountain River Earth Sanctuary Hennops
Taking the first steps in the larger project by starting with the River Sanctuaries, the focus here will be on more practical considerations. To initiate the process of restoring and protecting these Rivers from source, all of the five Rivers that originate on the Witwatersrand and potentially form part of the proposed Birth-Source River Reserve namely the Crocodile, Jukskei, Hennops, Klip and Apies Rivers should be protected by their own Sanctuaries and Reserves to preserve the water quality and restore their riparian zones. They can be administered by local groups and representatives familiar with the nature of their riverine areas and the problems, working to monitor and maintain water quality, restoring the original life and expanding the natural corridors.
A Green Living Systems Bio-filtration system in a Sustainable modular Unit, functioning as a Hexagonal Circulation Plant for the Remediation and Restoration of the water to a Sparklingly Clean living state by enabling the different Kingdoms of life to flourish for the rejuvenation of waste water, through their living actions Creating a Raw-Sewage Processing Plant.
This Living System is good for smaller volumes as well as for neighbourhoods and villages, when enlarged it is intended to be used for new developments and housing estates. In an adapted design this System can be installed at the larger existing Waste Water Treatment Works like Sunderland Ridge and Northern Works, and used for new larger Plants in the pipeline
Functioning as an ecological alternative proposal for the new ones that are imminently to be built, like the one planed on the Jukskei at Lanseria which has already been scoped and is now seeking environmental approval from GDARD.
The system of waterborne sewerage is a very bad idea especially in a water-scarce country like ours, aside from the huge costs of the treatment as well as the drinking-water wasted it goes further on to pollute our rivers destroying whole fresh-water eco-systems down into the sea, a world-wide problem affecting this scarce resource. The worst place to put human waste is in our freshwater reserves, a selfish and unnatural thing to do to use clean water for waste disposal where it never really comes out of. The best way is to put it safely into the earth as compost where it can enrich the soil and seeds can sprout, some need to pass through digestive systems first. We need to move away from this wasteful system ruining our small supply of freshwater on the planet degrading our health while causing much suffering, degradation and extinction of our fellow species for this luxury.
To save our Freshwater sources the best way is through chemical-free dry composting directly into the earth, adapting the old bucket system or with movable toilets over holes for tree planting. The next best way is through creating Living-systems Bio-filtration Plants to treat sewage water naturally in an ecologically sound way that protects the river life. Smaller plants can be installed directly at developments and integrated within the planning while costs carried by the developers- Treatment Works are already at capacity. Designed as attractive open spaces and parks where they can water gardens and enrich the soil, when no chemicals are added a separate grey-water system can be first filtered and used in flushing and irrigation. In this way people can take control to treat their own waste and not flush the problem downstream, eliminating the need for other costly Plant planned.
Saving the natural freshwater system originating in Central Gauteng - an overview and summary of the problems and their possible solutions as treated in the longer papers
The larger proposal is to protect and restore the remaining natural areas mostly near permanent freshwater sources containing abundant Hominin remains representing the most likely areas for the birthplace of our species. Due to its high conservation value and importance in nourishing the early human race to declare the ridges of the Witwatersrand as a Nature Area forming a Birth-source Park around the sources of the rivers originating there; furthermore to protect their outward flow and the connected grasslands of these ancestral waterways as Riverine Nature Sanctuaries forming Wild- life corridors meandering downstream to connect at their base with a large Wild-life Reserve where three of these rivers merge. By extending and securing the boundaries of the new Crocodile River Reserve being formed and protecting this whole area adjoining the Cradle of Humankind as the proposed Birthplace of Humankind, to form a restored area of biodiversity that can then spread out along riparian corridors to repopulate and return naturally diverse life to our threatened Grasslands.
The problems and their solutions- an economical way to revive the whole area`s nature
1. The highly threatened grassland eco-region of the Highveld has been largely transformed by human activity and now exists only in isolated pockets that are not genetically viable to maintain biodiversity, connecting these isolated patchworks of grasslands pieces through protected River Sanctuary Corridors will allow for the migration of animal species forming healthy gene-pools.
2. The rivers originating on the Witwatersrand are highly important to the origin and early history of Humankind they also accurately match the Biblical description of the rivers that watered the Garden of Eden. These rivers are now highly polluted carrying most of the sewerage effluent from the failing Waste Water Treatment Works of Johannesburg and Tshwane that has turned them into lifeless wastelands polluting the whole country and both of our oceans. Mitigating this sewage pollution with natural and biological extensions to these Plants like Wetlands and Bioremediation plants to process raw- sewage properly and return only clean water to the natural freshwater system.
3. The high Watershed of Johannesburg flows to all sides and is the origin of the Crocodile-Limpopo systems while on the other side feeding the Orange-Vaal systems, high levels of raw-sewage pollution from here negatively impacts the health of the whole country. Saving and restoring back to life the origins and headwaters of these rivers will save the major freshwater courses of our country.
4. Most diseases are waterborne and water pollution directly increases the toxicity of our environment, this coupled with an unhealthy modern diet is making our people increasingly subject to degenerative diseases with high incidences of Cancer and Diabetes even in children showing that it is now affecting our genetic structure. Clean healthy drinking quality water in our rivers will boost the health of our environment that people depend on eliminating much suffering with a huge saving on healthcare and productivity leading to healthy happy people in a life-giving environment.
5. The groundwater in the Dolomitic Karst system underlying much of this Cradle area contains large freshwater reserves and is very vulnerable to toxic seepage through porous limestone into the water pockets and can permanently pollute them, destroying borehole drinking water on which many depend. Underground rivers interconnect the system transporting pollutants over a wide area with poisons emerging at far-flung fountains. Clean rivers will heal this dynamic freshwater fountain system holding vast reserves on which our lives may still depend and ensure future water security
6. The Activated Sludge process used in Treatment Works all over is very expensive costing over a billion rand to construct and three million a month to operate using huge amounts of energy- over a million rand a month in electricity alone and the rest on chemicals and maintenance, yet the system is notoriously inefficient and easily disabled through cable theft. It does not treat the sludge waste end product effectively which is mostly buried or ends up dumped in the environment. Worldwide this system is probably the major reason for the destruction of aquatic species and the degradation of our environment. Treatment with Living systems breaks down the waste completely, is much cheaper to construct and operate using little power and contains few parts that can be stolen. Piloting different processes here can help implement techniques to save the environment globally.
7. Utilising Natural Living Systems treatment plants on a smaller scale near development nodes can eliminate the need for high footprint costly destructive larger plants like the one currently planned for Lanseria- inside the conservation area proposed as the Birthplace Park. Set to further destroy an already polluted Jukskei river and be the thin edge of the wedge for industrial developments that will follow in its destructive wake to destroy this sensitive heritage area. This Treatment Work will be a huge drain on finances that could be better spent elsewhere like establishing the Park, the capacity of Northern Farms could rather be increased with another pipe and ecological processing units.
8. The currently shameful state of this priceless freshwater system of central Gauteng can be turned into the City`s greatest natural asset, when cleaned and restored some of the most beautiful natural areas will emerge to form part of a wildlife parkland for people and animals naturally watered with perennial fountain streams in a self- maintaining natural system that will be economical to maintain.
9. Alien species and weeds that are choking up the riverbanks are furthering the large-scale erosion problems leading to massive silting up in some areas. These trees must be removed and replaced with original indigenous species which can provide proper protection for the banks. Job creation in the removal and utilisation of the wood as well as planting and caring will benefit local communities.
10. The looming sixth great extinction underway where Human greed and ignorance is set to make sixty percent of our fellow species extinct can be ameliorated by boosting biodiversity with clean water on which all life depends. A vast amount of habitat can be returned to their rightful owners- all the billions of animals that have been killed off, the original inhabitants of these rivers and their riparian corridors can be returned and protected to boost the health of our whole environment, endangered and Red data listed species can breed again when a clean habitat is returned to them.
11. The threatened and endemic Grasslands can flourish again when its true custodians represented by all the grazing animals are returned to maintain these grasslands each filling a different niche and encouraging the right types of grasses to flourish through selective grazing and fertilising of the veld.
12. Great attractions of worldwide significance for all will be created with the proposed Birth-source and Birthplace of Humankind Parks as well as through the River Sanctuaries making this priceless nature accessible to all. Bringing tranquillity to this densely populated area, and attractions such as Freshwater Aquariums, museums, cultural and art centres boosting tourism and the economy while giving a natural identity as the Twin Fountain Cities of Human Origin to Johannesburg and Tshwane.
Fresh, or the Fountain River Environmental Sanctuary Hennops is a non-profit organization that is on a mission to clean South Africa's Rivers by raising funds to firstly stop the sources of pollution followed by cleaning up the rivers, dams and waterways using eco friendly and sustainable methods and then rehabilitating the natural fauna and flora that inhabit the enviroment as well as to ensure long term sustainability by educating the communities along the rivers on how to prevent pollution and care for the enviroment.
Fresh will start with the Hennops River as a pilot project and then with the data and systems developed apply this to the rest of the Rivers in South Africa and then the rest of the World.
Through donations, government funding, and corporate assistance, we believe that it is possible to restore our rivers to their former glory, and maintain their beauty. FRESH welcomes donations of time, money and resources.
Water is truly more valuable than Gold for without Fresh Water there can be no life on Earth, we must act now before it is too late.