Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 09 March 2011
Tap water in SA could be undrinkable in the next 19 years if the country does not change the way it uses water, or how it treats used water, scientists say.
Already, some of the tap water in SA contains poisons.
Poor quality water will negatively affect the economy, curbing the manufacturing sector directly and indirectly, says limnologist Bill Harding. Limnology is the study of freshwater bodies.
Despite Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica promising a turnaround in the parlous state of wastewater treatment almost a year ago, there has been no visible action taken to curb the risk from semi-treated water discharged into SA’s rivers and reservoirs, the scientists say.
Last year’s Green Drop (wastewater quality) report showed that only 32, or 3%, of SA’s estimated 850 wastewater treatment works complied with requirements for safe discharge. The report noted that only 449 of the works had been assessed, with the rest either ignoring, or being unable to comply with, the call to submit to scrutiny.
Only 32 (7%) complied with the Green Drop criteria after being measured for E. coli bacteria, nitrates, phosphates and ammonia and other nasties.
The national Green Drop Programme was launched in 2008 and was meant to cover all wastewater treatment works so as not to harm the water bodies into which they discharge their product. Continue reading