Cape Town looks to recycled water

Durban and Cape Town residents will have to start looking seriously at drinking recycled water from the local sewage works within the next few years as water supplies are running out and there is not enough time to build big new dams.

Gauteng would also have to start diluting large volumes of acidic mine water within the next three years to avoid unacceptable pollution of the Vaal River system

Speaking at a water experts meeting in uMhlanga on Tuesday, Department of Water Affairs planning director Johan van Rooyen said Durban and Cape Town were both flushing large volumes of domestic “waste water” into the sea when it could be recycled to meet the growing water demands.

While it was technically feasible to desalinate sea water to solve the shortage in these cities, the cost of desalinated water was around R12 per kilolitre, whereas recycling domestic effluent to tap water quality cost about R7 per kilolitre.

The conference is investigating and promoting the recycling of domestic and industrial waste-water into drinking quality tap water in the 30th most water-stressed country in the world. Continue reading

Drinking water algal bloom poses no medical risk

The City of Cape Town’s Scientific Services Branch has isolated and identified an algal species called Melosira in the water of the Molteno Reservoir, and is assuring the public that it poses no medical risk to public health.

Melosira falls into the class Bacillariophyceae which are diatoms. In drinking water can give the water a grassy or fishy odour

Melosira are commonly found in drinking water reservoirs worldwide. The Melosira species belongs to the family of algae called Bacillariophyceae and is a diatom that forms long filaments. They are known for clogging filters in water systems.

The mechanism of the sudden and unexpected bloom of this species in the reservoir is being carefully examined to determine the causal factors so that appropriate corrective and preventative action can be taken.

Molteno Reservoir is a balancing reservoir situated above the city in Oranjezicht and is supplied by a blend of water from the Theewaterskloof, Wemmershoek, Steenbras and Voëlvlei Dams. The algae have not been detected in the incoming water supply. The water level in the reservoir rises at night when the demand in the city area is low and falls during the day while the peak demands prevail. The reservoir is cleaned annually during low demand periods in winter. Continue reading

Funding needed for water sector

The government is seeking international funding for its multi-billion rand water sector building plans, Deputy Water Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said on Tuesday.

The Katse reservoir has a total capacity of 1 950-million m3 and a surface area of 36 km2 at full capacity

“We’ve got countries coming forward and offering us technology. They’re saying they’d like to partner with us,” she said after opening a joint South Africa-Lesotho display at the World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille.

Asked if South Africa was hoping to attract foreign capital for its plan to spend more than R60 billion on water infrastructure over the next three years, she said: “Yes, that is why we have this stand. We need funding for infrastructure.”

Mabudafhasi declined to reveal any details, or to say whether a big deal was imminent. “We are still talking,” she said.

The display-stand at the WWF includes a backdrop photograph of the giant Khatse Dam in Lesotho, the main reservoir for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

The project, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, supplies water from Lesotho to South Africa’s industrial heartland, Gauteng.

Phase two of the project, which includes the building of a second big dam in Lesotho, as well as the boring of a 38km-long tunnel, is set to start supplying water in July 2020. It will cost an estimated R15.4bn. Continue reading

Increased pressures on water could make it less available

By A.D.McKenzie
Source: IPS

As non-governmental organisations question the relevance of the World Water Forum being held here this week and slam its “corporate” nature, the United Nations says that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical.

Sub-Saharan Africa could experience severe freshwater scarcity by 2020

The fourth edition of the triennial World Water Development Report (WWDR), which brings together the work of 28 U.N.-Water members and partners is being officially launched Monday at the Forum. It stresses that water “underpins all aspects of development” and needs to be a key element in global policies and regulations.

Titled ‘Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk’, the comprehensive report paints a somber picture of what could result from failure to deal with water issues. Experts warn of increased political conflicts over resources, the endangering of future availability and reduction in economic and social welfare.

“We want to be optimistic but there are increased pressures on water that could make it less available for normal consumption, and that’s the bleak picture,” said Dr. Olcay Ünver, coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme which produced the report.

“The other side is that there’s a lot that leaders of government and civil society can do, especially by working together to ensure sustainability,” he told IPS.

The stakes are high as more than one billion people lack access to safe water, and about 1.4 billion lack access to electricity (which can be generated through hydropower). With the world’s population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, demand for water will surge over the next decades, experts say. Continue reading

Polokwane water reservoirs dry up

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 03 Oct 2011

Residents of Polokwane Municipality, including the business sector, are being urged to drastically cut down on use of water with immediate effect as water reservoirs dry up.

The main culprit is the continuous watering of gardens.

Municipal spokesperson Simon Mokoatedi said the reservoir levels were alarming.

He confirmed that the Potgieter reservoir was empty and the Krugersburg reservoirs were at 20%.

The reservoir supplying Seshego from the Olifants River is at 0.5%.

The municipality is regulating flow and diverting supply to areas in intervals, which is leading to low pressure and complete shortages in some areas. Seshego and Legae la Batho are without water. The city and Mankweng are experiencing low pressure.

According to the municipality, the main culprit is the continuous watering of gardens, despite it issuing several warnings.

“All sources are pumping water into the city at full capacity and these sources have exceeded the quota for extracting water. Unfortunately, there is no other source to augment the supply. The municipality is warning the public if the high usage of water continues at this rate, the entire municipality will experience serious water shortage,” said Mokoatedi.

“This is largely attributable to an increasing trend in a number of factors such as the watering of gardens, leaking pipes, washing of cars and using hoses.”

Meanwhile, the municipality is importing 93% of its water, supplied from outside the borders of the municipal area – 56% is imported from the Letaba water scheme and 37% from the Olifants scheme. The balance of 7% is supplied from sources within Polokwane.

On average, the municipality supplies 64.95 megalitres (ML) per day but the supply has increased to more than 72ML per day over the past four weeks.

“This usage is not sustainable and we have to cut back drastically to avoid shortages,” said Mokoatedi.

By: Mpho Dube
Source: New Age