Tshwane taps into hydropower

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 02 Dec 2011

The City of Tshwane has made history by being the first municipality in South Africa to use hydropower. This huge project was launched on 29 November 2011. This has realised the objectives of the study that was done by the University of Pretoria through funding from the Water Research Commission, which explored the use of water to generate power that could assist in supplementing the existing supply within a municipality. With this new source of energy, the country could start looking into providing such a service to other areas while reducing the problematic carbon emissions from coal that poses a threat to the environment.

Hydropower is still an untapped resource of energy within the African continent

The ‘Pressure Hydropower System’ has been installed and integrated at the new site, Pierre van Ryneveld reservoir located in the south-eastern part of the City of Tshwane. When operational, the system will generate about 16 Kilowatts of electricity per hour.

The acting Executive Mayor, Councillor Terence Mashego congratulated the team of experts and applauded the excellent work done by the University of Pretoria and its students and the Water Research Commission for funding such an initiative.

“The fact that somebody was employed to take part in the project by working on it or supplying stock for it, the project assisted in putting food on the table for those families’. I also appreciate that the project involved students who should be promoted based on their contribution towards this big initiative’’ says councillor Mashego. Continue reading

Africa’s water could rescue the continent from climate change

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 Nov 2011

The African continent is the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its dependence on rain-fed agriculture but can harness the potential for hydropower, said Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa on Monday.

Africa currently uses only 10% of its hydropower potential

“The challenge for Africa is to decouple economic and social development from the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation to an extent which has no precedent in the developed world,” said Molewa, who is leading the SA’s negotiation team at COP17 in Durban.

Water shortages caused by climate change threaten agriculture and human health in Africa, she said. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted yields from rain-fed agriculture to shrink by half by 2020.

“This will spell famine for many,” she said.

Water shortages have already affected the agriculture and livestock industries in Kenya, she said, and African nations that currently have water surpluses will shift to water scarcity before 2025.

But Africa’s water resources could also rescue the continent from the effects of climate change in the form of renewable energy, she said. The continent currently uses only 10% of its hydropower potential.

“A national, regional and international effort towards unlocking this potential is an example of how African societies could go from being amongst the most vulnerable to become climate resilient,” she said.

Molewa repeated the SA government’s support of the “polluter pays principle”, imploring developed nations to fund green projects in developing nations, since they are responsible for the majority of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Africa contributes only 4% of global GHG emissions, but SA is responsible for almost half of that.

Molewa also highlighted the Africa Pavilion at COP17, which presents opportunities for green-development projects on the continent.

The effects of climate change on Africa are “unacceptable” and climate-change talks must “produce a credible, fair, equitable and balanced outcome” in the coming weeks.

Source: Business Live

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

Peace in Central Asia may depend on shared water resources

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

Boosting cooperation between countries sharing the waters of the Amu Darya, Central Asia’s longest river, could be key to future peace and security in the region a new report launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says.

The Aral Sea, which relies in part from water from the Amu Darya, remains severely degraded. Estimates indicate that "the volume and surface area of the sea have decreased tenfold"

Big hydropower projects planned upstream, demand for irrigated agriculture downstream and growing concern that climate change is shifting weather patterns are emerging as major natural resource challenges for the four main nations involved – Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The new report, prepared by UNEP on behalf of partners in the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC), points out that water resources in the region are already impacted by decades of often unsustainable development dating back to the era of the Soviet Union.

Large-scale engineering projects dammed and diverted substantial flows from the Amu Darya river basin into activities such as cotton, wheat and fodder farming in arid and desert regions. Such projects have also contributed to increased land degradation and damage to soils.

The Aral Sea, which relies in part from water from the Amu Darya, remains severely degraded with the report’s estimates indicating that “the volume and surface area of the sea have now decreased tenfold”.

Water levels in the southern part have dropped by 26 meters and the shoreline there has now receded by several hundred kilometers, says the report Environment and Security in the Amu Darya Basin.

Across the Amu Darya basin there is growing concern over declining water quality with and implications for human health including increased incidence of kidney, thyroid and liver diseases. This is being linked with chemicals run off from cultivated land and the washing of soils in the winter to reduce salt levels. Continue reading

Yangtze drought blamed on Three Gorges Dam

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 27 May 2011

A 200-day drought in central China has provoked a fierce debate among scientists and government researchers about the impact of big dams like the Three Gorges on local weather systems.

Climate specialists say that the reservoir acts as a giant heat reflector that affects the microclimate of the region

Government officials and experts have been forced to respond to a flurry of accusations by netizens and environmental activists that the world’s biggest hydropower plant has disrupted downstream water flows and could have a long-term impact on local weather patterns.

WHY IS THE THREE GORGES BEING BLAMED?

Experts say that the 600-km (350-mile) long reservoir required to serve the 26 700-megawatt turbines at the Three Gorges hydropower plant prevents considerable volumes of water from flowing downstream.

But some environmentalists and climate specialists have also said that the reservoir acts as a giant heat reflector that affects the microclimate of the region, raising temperatures and reducing rainfall.

They also point to longer-term impact, saying that large reservoirs like the Three Gorges are net greenhouse gas producers because they submerged vast tracts of forest and farmland that would otherwise have absorbed climate-altering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Continue reading