Cape Town looks to recycled water

Durban and Cape Town residents will have to start looking seriously at drinking recycled water from the local sewage works within the next few years as water supplies are running out and there is not enough time to build big new dams.

Gauteng would also have to start diluting large volumes of acidic mine water within the next three years to avoid unacceptable pollution of the Vaal River system

Speaking at a water experts meeting in uMhlanga on Tuesday, Department of Water Affairs planning director Johan van Rooyen said Durban and Cape Town were both flushing large volumes of domestic “waste water” into the sea when it could be recycled to meet the growing water demands.

While it was technically feasible to desalinate sea water to solve the shortage in these cities, the cost of desalinated water was around R12 per kilolitre, whereas recycling domestic effluent to tap water quality cost about R7 per kilolitre.

The conference is investigating and promoting the recycling of domestic and industrial waste-water into drinking quality tap water in the 30th most water-stressed country in the world. Continue reading

From toilet to tap

It has been informed that Bill Gates would be funding a machine which would be used for converting the waste water of toilet into drinking water. Sarah Haigh from the Manchester University said that the invention would actually help in making the water safer for drinking.

It is believed that the invention would prove successful especially in the Third World. The researchers noted that the water thus procured from the waste water would be used to provide drinking water in the regions where clean water is not available.

Sarah Haigh was reported as saying, “There has been a lot of research into biofuels. There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene – which is basically rocket fuel”.

The sewerage water would not only be recycled into drinking water but would also be used for the creation of fuel. Although the revelation has win applause from all over the world, soon critics would be throwing comments upon the whole idea of transferring waste water into drinking water.

However, the researchers working over the machine are least bothered about the critics. It has been informed that the residents of Virginia have been using recycled water since 70s. Besides, Singapore has also invested huge money over the water purification facilities.

It has come to light that one in eight people all over the world doesn’t have the supply of clean water. There is a need to make clean water available to all. The researchers are hopeful that the invention of the machine would ensure adequate supply of drinking water to the regions where clean water is not available.

By: Makomborero Midzi
Source: Newspoint

Drinking water algal bloom poses no medical risk

The City of Cape Town’s Scientific Services Branch has isolated and identified an algal species called Melosira in the water of the Molteno Reservoir, and is assuring the public that it poses no medical risk to public health.

Melosira falls into the class Bacillariophyceae which are diatoms. In drinking water can give the water a grassy or fishy odour

Melosira are commonly found in drinking water reservoirs worldwide. The Melosira species belongs to the family of algae called Bacillariophyceae and is a diatom that forms long filaments. They are known for clogging filters in water systems.

The mechanism of the sudden and unexpected bloom of this species in the reservoir is being carefully examined to determine the causal factors so that appropriate corrective and preventative action can be taken.

Molteno Reservoir is a balancing reservoir situated above the city in Oranjezicht and is supplied by a blend of water from the Theewaterskloof, Wemmershoek, Steenbras and Voëlvlei Dams. The algae have not been detected in the incoming water supply. The water level in the reservoir rises at night when the demand in the city area is low and falls during the day while the peak demands prevail. The reservoir is cleaned annually during low demand periods in winter. Continue reading

Wasting water threatens food security

The wasteful way in which water is used for crop irrigation is a threat to world food security, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) warned.

In less than 20 years we will have 40% less freshwater than we need to ensure basic water, food and energy security

“If we do not reform, 50% of global grain production will be at risk within a generation,” it said in a report released to coincide with the World Water Forum (WWF), underway in Marseille, France.

Such a loss of food production would lead to “massive political instability and conflict”.

The GEF is the world’s biggest funder of environmental projects in developing countries, uniting various international agencies, development banks and more than 180 member governments.

According to the report, titled “Contributing to Global Security”, rapid global change is placing increasing stress on the world’s freshwater

“Global economic policies, together with an increasing population, and frequent droughts and floods caused by the warming of our planet, are all making the situation even worse.”

About a billion people around the world lack access to safe drinking water, a similar number are undernourished, and 2.6 billion lack access to adequate sanitation.

“If we continue with a business-as-usual approach, in less than 20 years we will have 40% less freshwater than we need to ensure basic water, food and energy security for our communities,” GEF said in the report.

Countries could no longer stick their heads in the sand and simply hope that next year would bring timely rains, rather than droughts or floods.

“We know that it is possible to achieve long-term water, food and energy security on our planet, but urgent action is needed now.”

The WWF ends in Marseille on Friday. The theme for the forum’s sixth triennial meeting is “Time for Solutions”.

– Sapa

DRC – study warns of alarming trends

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 10 Oct 2011

With half of Africa’s forests and water resources and trillion-dollar mineral reserves, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) could become a powerhouse of African development provided multiple pressures on its natural resources are urgently addressed.

About 50% of Africa’s total water resources are concentrated within the Congo basin

A major Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment of the DRC by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) underlines the global significance and extraordinary potential of the country’s natural and mineral resources.

However, the study warns of alarming trends including increased deforestation, species depletion, heavy metal pollution and land degradation from mining, as well as an acute drinking water crisis which has left an estimated 51 million Congolese without access to potable water.

The outcomes of the two-year assessment have been released today in Kinshasa, by UNEP’s Executive Director, Mr Achim Steiner, and the DRC’s Environment Minister, Mr José Endundo.

Conducted in conjunction with the DRC’s Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, the assessment highlights successful initiatives and identifies strategic opportunities to restore livelihoods, promote good governance and support the sustainability of the DRC’s post-conflict economic reconstruction, and reinforce ongoing peace consolidation.

The study’s good news is that most of the DRC’s environmental degradation is not irreversible and there has been substantial progress in strengthening environmental governance.

For example, through steps such as regular anti-poaching patrols, the Congolese Wildlife Authority has secured the Virunga National Park, which at the peak of the DRC’s crisis was losing the equivalent of 89 hectares of forest each day due to illegal fuelwood harvesting.

However, the country’s rapidly growing population of nearly 70 million people – most of whom directly depend on natural resources for their survival – and intense international competition for raw materials are adding to the multiple pressures on the DRC’s natural resource base. Continue reading