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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