Wastewater technology choices compromise quality

56% of treatment plants are performing poorly or in a critical state

In many small towns municipalities have revenue bases that are not sufficient to cover the costs of operation and maintenance.

The findings from a Water Research Commission study done in partnership with  the South African Local Government Association (SALGA)  indicates that 44% of the studied wastewater treatment plants may have opted for less suitable (inappropriate) technologies when considering their resource base, capacity to manage and provide  effluent quality requirements, whereas 33% technology options were questionable.

Read full press release here: South African Water Research Commission

Cape Town water and sanitation tariff 2013 to 2014

Irrigate with grey water

The domestic single residential sanitation tariff remains linked to the water tariff at a rate of 70% of water consumption (70% of 50kl = 35kl). This means that notwithstanding the volume of water that is used for garden irrigation, viz. water that is not sent to sewerage treatment, a charge is levied based on 70% of water consumption.

The new tariff is effective from 01 July 2013.

Should you have any queries regarding how to reduce your consumption of water and concomitant sewerage, please give us a call. Water Rhapsody will reduce your consumption by up to 90%, without a change in lifestyle.

Domestic Tariff (single residential)

Water Tariff

From To Rand per kl Incl VAT
> 0.0 6.0 R 0.00 R 0.00
> 6.0 10.5 R 7.60 R 8.66
> 10.5 20.0 R 11.61 R 13.24
> 20.0 35.0 R 17.20 R 19.61
> 35.0 50.0 R 21.24 R 24.22
> 50.0 R 28.02 R 31.95

Sanitation Tariff  (Standard) (at 70% of water consumption)

From To Rand per kl Incl VAT
> 0.00 4.20 R 0.00 R 0.00
> 4.20 7.35 R 7.20 R 8.21
> 7.35 14.00 R 13.56 R 15.46
> 14.00 24.50 R 14.82 R 16.90
> 24.50 35.00 R 15.56 R 17.74

Other Tariff (excl Vat)

Water Sanitation
Commercial R12.51 R9.62*
Industrial R12.51 R9.62*
Schools R11.06 R9.62*

* Sanitation – industrial, commercial and schools: Tariff at 95% of water consumption.

Farming places water security at risk

There is not enough fresh water in South Africa to go around, and experts say water availability is the most important factor limiting agricultural production — yet farmers are often their own worst enemies when it comes to water management.

South Africa’s water problems are exacerbated by small farm dams with high surface area to volume ratios.

South Africa’s water problems are exacerbated by small farm dams with high surface area to volume ratios.

It is projected that South Africa could run out of water by 2025 — and in Gauteng, Africa and South Africa’s economic hub, by as early as 2015. More than 95% of the country’s available fresh water was already allocated by 2005.

“We’ve had a huge scare with electricity prices, but I think water is also unreasonably priced (too low),” says Jeanne Nel, a biodiversity and ecosystems services scientist at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

While farmers are not solely to blame, agriculture is allocated the largest portion of South Africa’s available fresh water, with about 63% going to irrigation. This is sobering when it is considered that only 12% of South Africa’s landmass is considered arable and only 3% “truly fertile”. Only 1.5% of the land is under irrigation, producing 30% of the country’s crops.

“In the face of the far more obvious negative impacts that mining and industrial use and pollution have (on the environment), farmers often get away with a lot,” says Dr Nel. “Farming’s effects are a lot more insidious. If you keep drawing up water all the time, that does not create a big change all at once, but it can create a huge problem. We do need to put it into context — there are good and bad mining practices just as there are good and bad farming practices.” Continue reading

Deal Awarded Environmental Prize

South African environmental campaigner Jonathan Deal was today awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for his work in the fight against hydraulic fracturing in the Karoo.

frackingEach year, the Goldman Environmental Foundation selects grassroots activists from around the world to honour them for their work. With an individual cash prize of $150 000 (close on R1.5m), it is the largest award for grassroots environmental activism in the world.

Deal received the Prize at an awards ceremony in San Francisco on Monday 15 April, 2013. He is one of six recipients of the award for 2013. Other winners were honoured for their work in marshland restoration, solid waste management, marble mining, and coal plant emissions.

Deal is the second South African to be recognized with the Goldman Prize. Bobby Peek was awarded the Prize in 1998 for his fight against industrial pollution in the South Durban region.

“This award coincided with the end of an especially difficult year in the hard fought campaign against fracking,” said Deal.

“Even though I have had to keep the news to myself since November, it has been an enormous inspiration. I have done nothing in this campaign for my personal benefit, however, the recognition from people on the other side of the world has been a great encouragement. The value of the prize has already manifested itself in our organisation, Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG), because I have been able to pay salaries to staff that have worked for two years without, and commit to other expenses that have assisted us in reaching out to rural communities.” Continue reading

Climate Change is Real

Thanks to extensive research and noticeable changes in weather and storm prevalence, it’s getting harder to turn a blind eye to the reality of climate change. Since the Industrial Age spurred the increasing usage of fossil fuels for energy production, the weather has been warming slowly. In fact, since 1880, the temperature of the earth has increased by 1 degree Celsius.

climate_changeAlthough 72% of media outlets report on global warming with a skeptical air, the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the extreme weather of the last decade is at least partially caused by global warming. Some examples of climate calamities caused partly by global warming include:

  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Drought in desert countries
  • Hurricane Sandy
  • Tornadoes in the Midwest

These storms, droughts, and floods are causing death and economic issues for people all over the world – many of whom cannot afford to rebuild their lives from the ground up after being wiped out by a tsunami or other disaster.

Evidence also indicates that the face of the Earth is changing because of warming trends. The ice caps of the Arctic are noticeably shrinking, the ice cap of Mt. Kilimanjaro alone has shrunk by 85% in the last hundred years, and the sea levels are rising at the rate of about 3 millimeters per year because of all the melting ice. Climate change is also affecting wildlife – for instance, Arctic polar bears are at risk of losing their environment; the Golden Toad has gone extinct; and the most adaptable species are evolving into new versions capable of withstanding warmer water.

Despite some naysayers with alternative theories about why global temperatures are rising – including the idea that the earth goes through natural temperature cycles every few millennia – the dramatic changes in the earth’s atmospheric makeup suggests humans are to blame. In fact, 97% of scientists agree humans are responsible for climate change. Since the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels increased 38% because of humans, methane levels have increased 148%, nitrous oxide is up 15% – and the list goes on and on, all because of human-instigated production, manufacturing, and organizations and individuals work hard to promote an Earth-friendly existence, resistance to change is rampant and actions are slow. For instance, while the US Environmental Protection Agency is still working on collecting data to support development of greenhouse gas reduction expectations for businesses, most of their efforts feel more like pre-research than actual change. Other countries have made efforts – such as signing to Kyoto Protocol to reduce their 1990 emission levels by 18% by 2020 – but the only solution will require the whole world band together.

Steps anyone can take to reduce global warming include:

  • Driving a car with good gas mileage, or investing in a hybrid or electric car
  • Switching from incandescent light bulbs to CFL or LED
  • Insulating your home and stocking it with energy efficient appliances
  • Recycling
  • Using green power available in your area

Check out the infographic here to see what else the changing climate is affecting http://www.learnstuff.com/climate-change/