Specialising in
Grey Water
and
Rainwater Harvesting systems in South Africa .

Water crisis could cripple economic growth

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

South Africa faces a water crisis that could cripple economic growth and cause a plague of health problems – but critics say the government has yet to act with urgency.

Toxic algae bloom

The most immediate concern is the acid mine drainage (AMD) polluting a vast swathe from the Witwaters-rand to Mpumalanga. Other threats include pesticide run-off, broken infrastructure and failed sewage plants.

As the population grows and economic recovery puts more pressure on limited inland water resources, experts predict a shift of industrial activity to coastal areas where desalination plants will have to meet a growing share of demand.

Environmentalists warn that if the government and industry fail to act, within two years mine water as corrosive as battery acid will gush from Johannesburg’s Wemmer Pan and seep into the city’s streets and gardens.

“It is acutely toxic,” said Mariette Liefferink, who leads a group of non-governmental organisations lobbying for action. “It affects the soil and neural development of the foetus, which leads to mental retardation; it will cause cancer, cognitive problems, skin lesions,” she said. “These are all the foreseeable risks if we do not manage our AMD.”

Acid mine drainage, which occurs when mines close and stop pumping water out of shafts, has contaminated streams and dams on the West and East Rand that feed into the Limpopo and Vaal rivers. Treatment by utilities such as Rand Water renders the water safe, but those who drink straight from rivers are at risk. Continue reading Water crisis could cripple economic growth

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 Desalinated sea water for city in four years