Specialising in
Grey Water
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

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

Recycled water will create employment

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 16 February 2011

If SA was able to recycle its total national water resource 1,7 times over by 2035, the country’s unemployment problem would be solved, International Water Resources Association vice-president Anthony Turton said yesterday.

We will create jobs and lose them again if we don’t recycle our water. Photo: Reuters

SA’s government is battling a 24% unemployment rate (4,1-million people), as measured by Statistics SA in the last quarter of last year, and has promised, in its New Growth Path economic plan, to create 5- million jobs by 2020.

While the ability to recycle water would not of itself create jobs, without this ability the necessary preconditions for the kind of economic growth that would create jobs would not be in place, Dr Turton told Business Day after his presentation to the inaugural Water and Energy Forum which ended in Sandton yesterday.

“We can incentivise and do whatever we like, but we will create jobs and lose them again if we don’t recycle our water…. In order to sustain growth we need 62-billion cubic metres of water and we have 3 8- billion cubic metres now,” he said.

However, for the first time in history SA’s economic and infrastructure development was constrained by environmental considerations, Dr Turton said in his presentation. SA’s water resources were increasingly compromised by growing demand and looming pollution problems from decades of mining that did not take the environment into consideration. Continue reading Recycled water will create employment

Vaal water not suitable by 2014

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 23 December 2010

A water time-bomb is ticking for millions of users of water from the Vaal River – by 2014, it will not be suitable for human consumption.

Water from the Lesotho Highlands to dilute Vaal pollution will not be enough by 2014

Researchers said the problem was caused by acidic water seeping from waste on abandoned mines and by the discharging of untreated acidic mine water into rivers and streams tributary to the Vaal River system.

A report released by the Department of Water Affairs revealed that, by 2014, the water drawn from the Lesotho Highlands water scheme to dilute the high level of pollution in the Vaal will not be enough.

“The increase in dissolved salts and [other pollutants], such as chloride and sulphates, in the river has major implications for domestic, industrial and agricultural water use,” the report said.

According to the department, the Vaal River system serves a population of 12million in Gauteng, the Free State, North West and Northern Cape.

But water scientist Anthony Turton said the pollution does not mean an abrupt end to the supply of water. “It means the water supply to municipalities, industries and agriculture can no longer be guaranteed,” he said. “Strategic industries, such as Sasol and Eskom, will suffer. Economic activity will slow dramatically.”

The research report said the cost of water will increase dramatically. Continue reading Vaal water not suitable by 2014

Water crisis will eclipse Eskom crisis

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 29 November 2010

“The sheer cost of the water crisis will totally eclipse the arms deal, the Eskom crisis and that in many other departments. While we have alternatives for energy, we don’t for water, so the impacts of the water crisis will knock on through all socioeconomic levels.”

Decrease in water quality will have different negative effects on individual economic sectors

That’s the sobering message from Bill Harding, co-founder of DH Environmental Consulting and the previous chairman of the SA Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Scientists.

The water crisis had been in effect in Gauteng for the past 10 to 20 years, with no sign of abating, Harding said.

“There are sub-regional crises in other areas in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and then urban crises in many situations, such as Welkom. The bulk of the problem originates from inadequately treated waste water,” he said.

His comments follow a study conducted by economic research and advisory firm Plus Economics on behalf of trade union United Association of SA.

The study shows that a 1% decline in the quality, and therefore usability, of water in the country could lead to the loss of 200000 jobs and a decline of 5.7% in disposable income per capita, as well as a rise of 5%, or R18.1-billion, in government spending.

Plus Economics chief executive Charlotte du Toit said that the macroeconomic effects of decreased water quality included a rise of 28% in the ratio of government debt to GDP; a decline of R16-billion in household spending; a 1% drop in GDP growth; and a decrease of R9-billion in total fixed investment. Continue reading Water crisis will eclipse Eskom crisis

Campaign encourages rainwater harvesting

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 17 September 2010

The past week residents around Hartbeespoort Dam had another taste, as so often in the past, of a water dearth with reservoirs running at under ten per cent of their capacity. In some suburbs taps ran completely dry for a number of days while others still have no water.

Hartbeespoort Dam receives effluent from the Pta/Wits urban industrial complex. Photo by Michael McCloskey

A lot has been said and written in the past about the reasons for the water shortage – lack of capacity, lack of planning, lack of maintenance, lack of rain, etc., etc. The fact of the matter is that we are, nationally and regionally, running out of water. Dr Anthony Turton, then a research fellow at the CSIR, pointed out in 2008, in the famous address the CSIR tried to stop, that South Africa’s average rainfall was only about half that of the global average – 497mm per year against the world average of 860mm per year. In addition, 98% of the country’s water resources have already been allocated by 1998, meaning that there is no dilution capacity left.

Also, unlike other countries where cities were developed round lakes or near rivers or the seashore, southern Africa’s major urban developments took place on or near watershed divides. This is particularly relevant in the case of Hartbeespoort Dam which has to content with the effluent of the sprawling Pretoria/ Witwatersrand urban industrial complex. As a water poor country the levels of pollution that South Africa has to cope with are unique in the world.

A campaign to encourage residents to harvest rainwater is to be launched on the tenth of next month. It is one of the activities planned as part as the Global Environmental Action Day against Climate Change. Thea Holm, who is organising the event in Hartbeespoort and Brits, says the 10/10/10 Global Action Day will entail 1 700 events in 140 countries around the world. Continue reading Campaign encourages rainwater harvesting