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People and the River



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Environment and Well-being  

“Human well-being is defined as having sufficient access to the basic material for a good life, health, freedom and choice, good social relations and security (Biggs et al. 2004).”  The basic materials for a good life and health, such as access to water and food security, are derived largely from the environment and are known as ecosystem services.

In southern Africa the largely rural-population is very much aware of the importance of ecosystem services because the people are affected by the availability of these services on a day-to-day basis. Livelihoods such as rainfed agriculture and pastoralism are directly dependent on the availability of rain and fodder, two essential ecosystem services to the rural people of the basin. In the urban areas people may not be as aware about the importance of ecosystem services because of the buffers in place such as water filters and stored food (Scholes and Biggs 2004).

“Humans are directly dependent on ecosystems for air, water, food and other basic needs. Ecosystems also provide recreational opportunities and aesthetic, cultural and spiritual values.”

Source: Scholes and Biggs 2004

Chapter Summary

This chapter covers the following concepts and material:

Scientists from CSIR monitor water quality on the Steelpoort River - poor water quality can significantly impact livelihoods.
Source: Mac 2008
( click to enlarge )



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