Water Rhapsody

Suppliers and installers of
Grey Water
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Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa with experience since 1994 and over 3000 installations.

AMD remains an unclear issue

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 Sep 2011

Despite releasing a report that examined Acid Mine Drainage and its effects and pledging R225m for its treatment the Inter Ministerial Committee has no clear plan yet for tackling the problem, beyond accepting that AMD is an issue.

There is no indication that the mining industry is thinking about taking responsibility

This view was presented by Dr Anthony Turton, Vice President of the International Water Resource Association (IWRA), while addressing delegates at the second annual Mine Water Management Conference in Johannesburg.

He went on to explain that even if government did formulate a proper plan it would be very difficult to implement as the mining industry was not cooperating with government to solve the problem.

A game of chess was used by Turton as a comparison for the situation saying that the game was between the mining industry as a collective entity and government as a collective entity and that unfortunately the industry would stay ahead of government.

“I think we are approaching that position where checkmate is about to happen and I think that the mining industry is going to checkmate government because at the end of the day it’s going to come down to the nationalisation of the liabilities and until such time as the mining industry says they are going to pick up those liabilities … government is going to pick them up and thus taxpayers are going to pick up the associated costs.” Continue reading AMD remains an unclear issue

Solutions to acid mine drainage to receive highest priority

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 13 June 2011

Environmental officials are working around the clock to curb the potential dangers posed by the impact of acid mine drainage in the Witwatersrand mining area, government news agency BuaNews reported on Monday.

Acid mine water overflowing from an old mine shaft on the Black Reef Incline, near Rand Uranium's treatment pond, 30 January 2010.

An expert team appointed by Cabinet to advise the interministerial committee on the dangers of acid mine drainage to Gauteng warned earlier this year of the need to avert an impending crisis.

The team, drawn from the Council for Geosciences and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), among others, identified various risk categories, including the contamination of surface and ground water required for agricultural and human consumption.

Their recommendations were housed in an acid mine drainage report.

According to a statement issued by the Department of Water Affairs this week, “important progress” had been made by the state in implementing the immediate and short-term actions recommended in the acid mine drainage report. Continue reading Solutions to acid mine drainage to receive highest priority

AMD to be pumped only in 2012

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 February 2011

The government plans to set up a chain of pumping stations and treatment plants to prevent toxic liquids that are building up in defunct gold mines beneath Johannesburg from reaching dangerous levels.

Acid mine water overflowing from an old mine shaft on the Black Reef Incline, near Rand Uranium's treatment pond, 30 January 2010. Photo under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 licence.

The costs will be made known in Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s national Budget today. But the government insists that the clock is not ticking as acidic mine water is expected to reach environmentally critical levels under Johannesburg only by June 2012, according to government officials and scientists at a briefing yesterday.

The cabinet also agreed that “further work needs to be done” to investigate the possibility of an environmental levy – to be spent on restoring the environment in mined areas – for consideration by the cabinet.

Water has already leaked from old mines west of Johannesburg in the “western basin”.

“Work in the western basin is immediate,” Thibedi Ramontja, the chief executive of the Council for Geoscience, said after the briefing.

Federation for a Sustainable Environment chief executive Mariette Liefferink said yesterday that while it was heartening for the government to acknowledge the threat of acid mine drainage, pumping the poisonous water only in March 2012 was a reactive measure. Continue reading AMD to be pumped only in 2012

AMD laid bare in Water Affairs report

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 February 2011

The stark and harsh reality of acid mine drainage (AMD) is laid bare in a report by the Department of Water Affairs.

Episodes of AMD decant are contaminating Tweelopiesspruit. Photo: Alistair-Clacherty

The document includes the findings of an interministerial committee team of experts on AMD, assembled in September to investigate the issue.

“Urgent reduction of water ingress into mine voids remained a high priority,” it says.

The department would neither confirm nor deny ownership of the document.

The document proposes various interventions for three areas: the West Rand (Western Basin), central Johannesburg (Central Basin) and the East Rand (Eastern Basin).

It also notes that recent heavy rain and resultant flooding in Gauteng raised concerns that these conditions would lead to more water flowing into mines and worsening AMD in the province.

“The recent occurrence of flooding is in essence a matter separate to that of AMD; however, cognisance must be taken that flood water has potential to enter mine workings and also increase AMD.”

The document points out that water in mine workings is an important environmental concern. Continue reading AMD laid bare in Water Affairs report

Water polluters to pay environmental tax

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 February 2011

The South African government has hinted at the introduction of a new environmental tax in an effort to address future eruptions of acid mine drainage (AMD) in a country where the economy largely depends on mining.

Government intends to hold people accountable if found guilty of having polluted water.

This comes as Cabinet meets this week to discuss recommendations made by a special task team to investigate how government should respond to reports of acid water drainage in some parts of the country.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, speaking at an Infrastructure Development cluster briefing on Tuesday, said while the proposal has not been tabled to Cabinet yet, it was something the state was “seriously” looking at.

“There have to be mechanisms that are put in place to ensure that the law is adhered to … we all have a duty to ensure that we protect the environment so it’s a discussion that is there. The Department of Finance has a document that is circulating on environmental tax and we will see what happens in the future,” Molewa said.

Acid mine water, or water contaminated with heavy metals as a result of mining activities, is reportedly affecting the Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Free State provinces. Reports suggest that this drainage poses health and economic risks for the country. Abandoned mines in Johannesburg and Mpumalanga had been the hardest hit so far.

With the mining industry contributing more than 30 percent to the country’s total export revenue, and having employed 2.9 percent of the country’s economically active population by 2009, environmentalists have termed AMD as the biggest single threat to the country’s economy and environment. Continue reading Water polluters to pay environmental tax