Specialising in
Grey Water
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Sustainable water supply to cost billions

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

Government plans to spend over R14.2 billion over the next three years vamping up dams and water distributions systems to ensure the country maintains a sustainable water-supply, the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said.

Clanwilliam Dam will receive a R2.2 billion upgrade

Molewa singled out several mega infrastructure projects, in reply to a parliamentary question raised in the National Assembly on whether the department had identified any urgent projects as part of the government’s R846bn infrastructure upgrade plan over the next three years.

So far the department has spent R5.9bn of the R29.2bn budgeted for several projects, ranging from water services projects to mega infrastructure projects, she said.

The projected expenditure on water and waste water infrastructure projects is expected to rise from R2.7bn in 2010/11 to R13.6bn in 2013/14.

“The spending focus over the medium term (MTEF 2011/12 to 2013/14) will be on bulk raw water resource infrastructure to meet sustainable demand for South Africa,” said Molewa, pointing out that the details are outlined in Vote 38 in the National Treasury’s Estimates of National Expenditure for 2011.

The mega infrastructure projects include R16bn for the Olifants River Water Resource Development Project in Limpopo – which includes over R3bn to be spent on the De Hoop Dam and a further R13.1bn on distribution systems.

So far over R2.5bn has been spent on the project – the bulk (over R2.1bn) on revamping the De Hoop Dam. A further R2.8bn will be spent on the project over the next three years. Continue reading Sustainable water supply to cost billions

Vaal Dam outflow at 90 times normal

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 January 2011

Four more Vaal Dam sluice gates were opened on Thursday afternoon following an increase in the water inflow into the dam, Emfuleni Local Municipality said.

The water levels downstream of Vaal Dam are expected to reach levels last seen during the flood of 1996

“This brings the number of opened gates to 17 since December 16,” spokesperson Klaas Mofomme said in a statement.

He said the municipality would like to warn community members to continue being on high alert for possible flooding.

“However, it must be emphasised that our joint operation committee team, which includes the emergency services and disaster management teams, is on high alert to provide the necessary services should the need arise.”

Mofomme said the outflow into the Vaal River was now standing at 2.7 million litres per second and the water outflow is about 90 times higher than the normal flow.

All boat owners were advised to remove their boats from the water even if they were in boathouses on the river. Continue reading Vaal Dam outflow at 90 times normal

Dysfunctional Madibeng Sewage works polluting Crocodile River

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 30 July 2010

Statement issued by Annette Lovemore, MP, Democratic Alliance Shadow Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be writing to the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs asking for a precise timetable on the establishment of special environmental courts to enable our legal system to deal with cases warranting special attention.

Polluted water from the Crocodile River flows into Hartebeespoort Dam

While the DA has been lobbying for these courts for some time, a definitive roll-out plan from the minister has become all the more urgent in light of the state of the Madibeng Sewage works which is releasing polluted water into the Crocodile River which flows into Hartebeespoort Dam, one of the principal water sources for many South Africans in the interior of the country.

Our water system is reliant on a complicated system of interconnected networks, the integrity of which need to all be maintained to the highest standards. Any weak component within that system needs to be addressed and those responsible need to answer for failing in their mandate as custodians of our natural resources.

The DA was part of a parliamentary water and environmental affairs portfolio committee visit to Madibeng that took place on 28th and 29th of July. A visit to the Madibeng sewage treatment works  revealed a deeply concerning lack of action, with officials admitting that the plant is so dysfunctional they might just as well switch off the pumps in the plant and allow raw sewage to flow into the already heavily polluted Crocodile River.

The committee was also told that the plant should be receiving approximately 18Ml of sewage per day, and is, in fact, receiving only 4 Ml/day. This means that approximately 14 Ml/day of raw sewage flows through the streets and into the river from the sorely neglected and failing pump stations throughout the area. Alarmingly, three of the pump stations that have failed are now discharging raw sewage into the river at the point where the drinking water supply is abstracted.

Five of the six senior positions in the directorate dealing with water and wastewater are vacant. There is not a single qualified person employed at the activated sludge plant in question.

The Crocodile River flows into the Hartebeespoort Dam – one of the most heavily eutrophied dams in the country, with an abundant growth of highly toxic algae. Continue reading Dysfunctional Madibeng Sewage works polluting Crocodile River

Acid mine water flows into wetland

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 February 2010

Source: Earthlife Africa Jhb

Acid mine water is pouring out of an old mine shaft on the West Rand, near Randfontein. The water is untreated and contains toxic heavy metals, including radioactive uranium. It flows down hill into a wetland area, to join the Tweelopiespruit which eventually flows into the Crocodile River. There is a strong smell of hydrogen sulphide – a toxic gas that can be very dangerous at high concentrations.

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

Some ELA Jhb members visited the area on 30 January 2010. In response, a member wrote the article below about the environmental crisis on the West Rand.

Acid Mine Drainage – is this the end of life in Gauteng?

Judith Taylor, A member of Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce Water Commission and EarthLife Africa Johannesburg

“What does this mean?  Simply this – a deadly cocktail of chemicals has become part of the water leaking from mine shafts into our dolomitic (vulnerable rock formations that are very soft and easily degraded) areas.  This cocktail includes various sulphates, and metals such as lead, magnesium, cadmium, bismuth, and radioactive uranium, strontium (one of uranium’s progeny) and radium which decays into radon, radon gas, polonium, and thorium.

In the Witwatersrand, the dolomite is being eaten away by this water, which is in the “basins” or void, under the Witwatersrand Ridge.  Already, it is decanting or leaking into our ground water and many people have been seriously affected by this.  Some farms have been so badly affected that they are no longer operative.

Not only our water, but our food security is threatened, as the pollutants in the soil and water get into food crops.

Recent rains have led to the most recent overflow of acid mine water on the West Rand (mid-January 2010). Continue reading Acid mine water flows into wetland