18. Can we balance people's and nature's water needs? (Jenny Day)

January 2022


Freshwater biodiversity tends to be the most threatened of all types of biodiversity. In this episode I speak with Jenny Day about the state of freshwater biodiversity in South Africa's drought-prone Southwestern Cape, and elsewhere in the world. We get into how it coexists with humankind’s need for water.

Jenny is emeritus professor of freshwater ecology at the University of Cape Town, where she was also Director of the Freshwater Research Unit for many years. She has co-authored the book Vanishing Waters and, more recently, Freshwater Life: A field guide to the plants and animals of southern Africa, as well as numerous papers and research reports on various aspects of river and wetland ecology.

Resources (linked):

Time stamps:

01:30 How Jenny decided on freshwater ecology

04:40 Why freshwater ecologists end up being involved in management and policy

11:20 The state of freshwater biodiversity

15:36 Threats to freshwater biodiversity

18:15 Water needs of communities, and dealing with Cape Town's two-year drought

28:00 Invasive trees

31:20 Virtual water

35:05 Adapting agriculture to be water-smart