Government forced to deal with acid mine drainage

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 June 2010

A coalition of environmental scientists and research teams yesterday forced the government’s hand in addressing 120 years of water pollution through acid mine drainage on the Witwatersrand.

Robinson Lake Dam uranium levels are 40 000 times higher than natural levels

The coalition, which had been on the verge of taking legal action against the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, said it would reconsider that option after it was given a commitment yesterday that “this is going to be a matter of national priority and will also be run via the National Treasury and the Department of Mineral Resources”.

“So there is going to be a holistic overview rather than a localised perspective on this endemic problem,” said Mariette Liefferink, the chief executive of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment.

“The reason that led us to resorting to legal action was that we had exhausted all possible avenues, from parliamentary processes to advocacy through the media. But, after assurances from (Mbangiseni) Nepfumbada (the acting deputy director of policy and regulation at the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs), we are going to seek the advice of our legal representative for a review.” Continue reading

Desalinated sea water for city in four years

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

By: Jeremy Westgarth-Taylor
Pioneer of Water Rhapsody Conservation Systems and winner of a WWF Green Trust Award

The Table Mountain fossil aquifer has been there for millions of years. Extraction would permanently reduce the amount of water.

Water and Environmental Affairs (DWEA) Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has said that her department was forging ahead with plans to supply desalinated water to Cape Town, and furthermore extract water from the Table Mountain (TM) aquifer.

As mentioned in the article, all rivers in the Western Cape have been dammed, and the maximum amount of water is being extracted. There is no more water that can possibly be squeezed from our rivers.  What was not said is that this water is used, polluted and largely wasted to rivers around the Western Cape with concomitant damage to riverine and marine life.

The focus has always been and remains to supply more and more water.

Now DWEA are looking at other ways, hence the aquifer extraction and sea water desalination. Has the Minister not been advised by scientists that by extracting fossil water from the TM aquifer, the relatively finite amount of water in the aquifer is being permanently reduced for all practical intents and purposes. This is a fossil aquifer, and has been there for millions of years. Not only would extraction permanently reduce the amount of water in the aquifer, but it would also jeopardise plant and animal life as well as rivers within the aquifer system. If you for instance pump water out near Cape Town, there will be a lessening of available water as far as Port Elizabeth! Continue reading