Major water risk

One big drought in the Vaal River catchment area over the next eight years could jeopardise the region’s agricultural and industrial output, senior Eskom and Sasol managers have warned.

Eskom uses 330 million cubic metres of water a year to keep its power stations running

Speaking at the end of the World Water Forum in Marseille, France, they said the period from now until 2020, when Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) starts delivering water to the Vaal, was one of “major risk”.

While a drought would not necessarily pose a threat to the two corporations’ ability to generate power and manufacture fuel – both Eskom and Sasol are deemed “strategic water users” and unlikely to have their supply curtailed – the same would not apply to others.

Particularly vulnerable would be large industrial water users, agriculture and municipalities located in and around the country’s economic heartland, Gauteng.

Eskom’s general manager for water and environmental operations, Nandha Govender, told Sapa a drought would see the region “pushing the boundaries” of available water supply.

“The capacity of the Vaal system is a major risk. We see the crucial period being between now and 2020, when Phase II of the LHWP starts delivering water.

“The risk lies with large industrial water users, agriculture and the municipalities… It’s a situation we don’t want to get into.”

Govender also said although 2020 was the date set by government for Phase II to start delivering more water to the region, large projects of this nature often missed such targets, and the first water might only start flowing from Lesotho in 2021, or 2022. Continue reading

Funding needed for water sector

The government is seeking international funding for its multi-billion rand water sector building plans, Deputy Water Affairs Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said on Tuesday.

The Katse reservoir has a total capacity of 1 950-million m3 and a surface area of 36 km2 at full capacity

“We’ve got countries coming forward and offering us technology. They’re saying they’d like to partner with us,” she said after opening a joint South Africa-Lesotho display at the World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille.

Asked if South Africa was hoping to attract foreign capital for its plan to spend more than R60 billion on water infrastructure over the next three years, she said: “Yes, that is why we have this stand. We need funding for infrastructure.”

Mabudafhasi declined to reveal any details, or to say whether a big deal was imminent. “We are still talking,” she said.

The display-stand at the WWF includes a backdrop photograph of the giant Khatse Dam in Lesotho, the main reservoir for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).

The project, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, supplies water from Lesotho to South Africa’s industrial heartland, Gauteng.

Phase two of the project, which includes the building of a second big dam in Lesotho, as well as the boring of a 38km-long tunnel, is set to start supplying water in July 2020. It will cost an estimated R15.4bn. 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

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

SA runs risk of severe water restrictions

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 07 July 2010

SA’s economic hub will run short of water should a severe drought occur in the next 10 years, as water losses have not been stemmed and new sources of supply are still 10 years away, according to a leading engineer.

Mohale Dam. The second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will supply Gauteng only in 2020.

The second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project will supply Gauteng only in 2020, although, according to experts, SA’s major Vaal River system is already in deficit, as is the Umgeni system.

Negotiations were still under way with the government of Lesotho regarding the flagship project, the Department of Water Affairs said on Friday.

“It is expected to take more than nine years to prepare for and implement the project,” the department said. Once implemented, this second phase would be able to transfer 479-million cubic metres annually to SA.

However, until this project was completed, SA ran the risk of severe water restrictions in the event of a critical drought in the next 10 years, said engineer Dr Chris Herold, a council member of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering.

Dr Herold said there was a mismatch between water demand and new sources of supply, resulting from a failure to stem water losses in the system.

Having a deficit in the Vaal River system was an unacceptable risk to run for the next 10 years, he said. The system, which supplies Gauteng, already had a 2% supply deficit, which would progressively worsen to an 11% deficit by 2019, he said. Continue reading