Water loss costs billions

Gariep dam

Water loss of 1.58 billion k/l per year is enough to fill a third of the Gariep Dam.

South Africa is losing the equivalent of 4.3 million swimming pools of water a year because of leaky pipes and theft, The Sunday Times reported.

According to the newspaper, a Water Research Commission (WRC) study had indicated that South Africa lost 1.58 billion kilolitres of water a year, or just under 132m k/l a month.

This was enough water to fill a third of the Gariep Dam, the largest in South Africa.

The water loss reportedly cost South Africa around R7.2bn a year.

WRC water use and waste management executive manager Jay Bhagwan told the newspaper the problem was caused by ageing infrastructure and the prioritisation of new infrastructure over maintenance.

The council estimated that 15% of water loss was caused by theft.

The Sunday Times quoted water affairs department spokesperson Linda Page as saying the government was concerned about water loss.

“South Africa is a water scarce country. Water losses have been identified as a risk to sustainable water supply into the future, especially at local government level,” she said.

She told the newspaper the maintenance of infrastructure had also been substandard.

– Sapa

Orange River flood warning

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 11 January 2011

The water affairs department on Tuesday warned of flooding along the banks of the Orange River in the Northern Cape.

Orange River in flood 2010 - Upington. Photo by Daniel Swart

The department said flooding could occur downstream from the confluence of the Vaal and Orange rivers.

“Residents are urged to take extra care as fast rising water levels are expected,” the department said in a statement.

A flood peak of 5 140m³ per second was expected for Upington on Thursday.

In the Vaal and Orange River catchment, the Vaal Dam is currently 101% full and the outflow has been reduced to 1 120m³ per second.

A total of 10 flood gates remained open. Four were closed early on Tuesday.

The capacity of the Bloemhof dam was at 98% and was expected to increase to 101% by Thursday.

At the Gariep Dam, the outflow was 2 300m³ per second and the capacity was 117%.

The Vanderkloof Dam stood at 113% with an outflow of 2 430m³ per second.

– Sapa

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

Dams overflow with more rain expected

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 January 2011

The Gariep Dam, the largest dam in South Africa, is 107 percent full with an outflow of 1670 cubic metres per second.

Dept of water affairs urges caution in the vicinity of the Vaal Orange River System

The water levels of the four largest dams in the Orange River catchment were rising following heavy rains in the past day, the department of water affairs said on Tuesday.

The Vaal Dam was 103% full and three sluice gates were open, spokeswoman Linda Page said in a statement.

It had an outflow of 870 cubic metres per second.

In the Free State the capacity of the Bloemhof Dam was currently at 104% with an outflow of 1000 cubic metres per second.

The Gariep Dam, the largest dam in South Africa, was at 107 percent with an outflow of 1670 cubic metres per second which would increase to about 2900 cubic metres per second, Page said.

The capacity of the second largest dam, the Vanderkloof Dam, was at 107.7% with an outflow of 1323 cubic metres per second and would increase to about 2500 cubic metres per second.

As more rain was forecast over the next 24 hours, it was expected that changes to outflows would be made, she said.

“The department of water affairs wishes to again urge all communities to exercise caution in the vicinity of the Vaal Orange River System and affected dams,”

– Sapa

Citrus crop threatened by drought

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

Fears are growing that the current drought in the Eastern Cape may lead to poor citrus crops in the province’s Patensie and Sundays River Valley areas.

This would have a major impact on the province’s economy as the citrus industry is one of its driving forces.

Citrus Growers’ Association Patensie director Phillip Dempsey warned the industry would be in trouble if there was not sufficient rainfall by the end of November as there would be no crops available for export.

“There has not been sufficient rainfall this year, but the real problem will come in by the end of November and beginning of December as the summer months are the time that these orchards are most dependent on a lot of water,” said Dempsey.

He said about 10000ha of orchards required rain and most of the citrus fruit from these orchards was destined for the export market. Continue reading