Water will cost more

iol GAYE DAVIS

Higher water charges are on the cards. Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday the cost of water would probably rise at a rate higher than inflation.

Water price rises will probably outstrip inflation

That’s because there is a funding shortfall of 56 percent in the more than half a trillion rand needed to pay for water infrastructure, services, conservation and demand management over the next 10 years.

A long-term investment plan drawn up by the Department of Water Affairs puts the overall cost at R573 billion, over the next decade, for the “total water value chain”.

Chief operations officer Trevor Balzer said that according to their estimates, only 44 percent of this would be funded – resulting in a significant shortfall.

He broke down the R573bn price tag as follows:

* R394bn for water services (municipalities, pipelines);
* R162bn for water resources infrastructure; and
* R16bn for water conservation and demand management (including dealing with “unaccounted” water lost through leaks).

“If we look at current budget allocations, taking into account all grant-funded programmes put in place by the national treasury as well, we estimate over 10 years that 44 percent of that is budgeted for,” Balzer said. This left a shortfall of 56 percent.

“We’ve really got to ramp up to be able to meet that target,” he said.

Asked whether price rises would outstrip inflation, Molewa answered: “Probably.”

“It’s very clear that we’re going to (need) a lot of money… it goes without saying that the cost (of borrowing) is likely to be very high and thus charges, also.” Continue reading

Polihali Dam to displace thousands

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 09 Nov 2011

More than 2500 Basothos will be removed to make way for the giant Polihali Dam in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Wednesday.

Displacement: 72 villages; 3132 households; 16,560 people - to provide Gauteng with adequate water supply.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, she said the removals would be handled by the Lesotho government.

“[A] feasibility study identified about 2550 people, from 17 villages, that may need to be relocated,” she said.

“The Lesotho government has handled this kind of a project before… and we are confident that even in this instance they will handle it with the necessary duty and care.”

Molewa said phase two of the project, being built to ensure an adequate supply of water for South Africa’s economic heartland of Gauteng, would be completed in nine years.

“The implementation of phase two will… ensure continued water availability for these socio-economically growing areas from the Vaal system to meet current and projected demands at adequate assurance of supply until about 2045,” she said. Continue reading

Activists angered by resumption of Mapungubwe mining

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 24 Oct 2011

Water and Environment Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has angered activists by allowing an Australian company to resume mining on the doorstep of the Mapungubwe World Heritage site.

Coal of Africa pleaded with Molewa to be allowed to continue mining

The Save Mapungubwe Campaign, a coalition of seven groups, said the minister’s decision was “contrary to the ordinary procedure stipulated in the National Water Act.”

The mining licence, granted to UK-listed Coal of Africa in March, was suspended in July following a Water Tribunal appeal lodged by the coalition citing discrepancies in the granting of the licence.

Coalition spokesman Hayley Komen said the minister’s discretion to lift the suspension should be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances, which in this instance did not apply.

The coalition fears that Molewa’s decision will enable other companies to apply to have the suspension of their licence rescinded.

But Water Affairs spokesman Linda Page said Coal of Africa had pleaded with Molewa to be allowed to continue mining because the appeal against the suspension might take a long time. The lengthy suspension would have a negative effect on mining operations, revenue and the workers, she said.

Page said that the coalition’s concerns were covered by the licence conditions and it would be involved in the monitoring of the water resources during mining operations.

By: Sipho Masombuka
Source: Times Live

SA to beef up climate policy

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 Sep 2011

South Africa will beef up its climate policy to ensure that all government departments responded well to the issue of climate change.

While details were still sketchy on how this would be done, Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa on Tuesday said it was important that departments had a “common” strategy on how to help South Africa respond to global warming, which threatened development in poor countries.

“It is very important that as we host the Climate Change Conference in Durban, that we as a country start to demonstrate that we are serious about climate change and willing to take the issue forward in terms of policy,” Molewa said at a media briefing on Tuesday.

She confirmed that up to 194 participants from different countries will form part of the climate talks scheduled to take place from 28 November – 9 December.

Molewa said South Africa will also be using its position as a host to push for the implementation of several crucial political decisions that were taken at the Cancun round of talks last year. These included finance packages for poor countries and the extension or renewal of the Kyoto Protocol that binds nations to measurable carbon emissions reduction.

A new climate green fund — which Minister in The Presidency: National Planning Commission, Trevor Manuel, co-chairs — was agreed upon at Cancun to transfer money from the developed to developing countries to tackle the impacts of global warming, but no figure was put on how much money will go into it.

“We believe that Durban should be the place where we do something about all those decisions …on what to do with Kyoto and issues of adaptation, technology transfer and mitigation,” Molewa said.

The South African government, meanwhile, will be hosting a series of events during the build-up to the conference to get its people involved and educated about climate change. Campaigns will include educational road shows and community meetings in all the nine provinces in the coming weeks.

Officials had been holding talks with African ministers in order to present a united front at the international meeting.

Source: BuaNews

Agreement signed for phase 2 of Lesotho water project

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 Aug 2011

SA’s minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and Lesotho Minister of Natural Resources Monyana Moleleki, have signed an agreement for the implementation of the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

the second phase of the agreement will include a pump storage scheme that will use the existing Katse Reservoir

The agreement was signed in Maseru, Lesotho. Phase two of the LHWP will consist of a water delivery system to supplement the delivery of water to South Africa and a hydropower generation system.

“The purpose of our cooperation is to strengthen regional integration by using water as a catalyst for socio-economic development with a key African partner,” Molewa said.

She said the nature of the cooperation was aimed at mutual development of the two countries’ water sources as a foundation and catalyst for an integrated economy.

The project will have an installed electricity capacity of between 1000 to 1200megawatts hydropower generation, and will influence industries in both countries. Continue reading