Cape Town looks to recycled water

Durban and Cape Town residents will have to start looking seriously at drinking recycled water from the local sewage works within the next few years as water supplies are running out and there is not enough time to build big new dams.

Gauteng would also have to start diluting large volumes of acidic mine water within the next three years to avoid unacceptable pollution of the Vaal River system

Speaking at a water experts meeting in uMhlanga on Tuesday, Department of Water Affairs planning director Johan van Rooyen said Durban and Cape Town were both flushing large volumes of domestic “waste water” into the sea when it could be recycled to meet the growing water demands.

While it was technically feasible to desalinate sea water to solve the shortage in these cities, the cost of desalinated water was around R12 per kilolitre, whereas recycling domestic effluent to tap water quality cost about R7 per kilolitre.

The conference is investigating and promoting the recycling of domestic and industrial waste-water into drinking quality tap water in the 30th most water-stressed country in the world. Continue reading

Karoo direct water reclamation plant a first for South Africa

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

Residents of the drought-stricken Karoo town of Beaufort West will start using recycled sewage water when the town’s direct water reclamation plant starts operating next week.

Gamka Dam - the main reservoir at Beaufort West - has dried up

The first plant of its type in South Africa, it has some local residents turning up their noses, but the plant became necessary to ease the plight of the town’s roughly 8 000 households hit by the water shortage.

Municipal officials say the demand for water has grown and the drought has been exacerbated by climate change.

The town’s main reservoir, the Gamka Dam, has dried up, forcing municipal officials to introduce a water management scheme.

The municipality was forced to cut supplies to households, while tankers supplied them with five litres of drinking water a day. Water tankers containing borehole water are available around the town for washing water.

A Stellenbosch-based company, Water & Wastewater Engineering, was commissioned to design, build and operate the plant to treat effluent from the town’s sewage treatment works.

Managing director Pierre Marais said water reclamation entailed taking treated effluent and purifying it to a drinkable standard.

The purified water will be pumped directly into the town’s reservoir. Continue reading

Water sharing scheme for Beaufort West

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 25 November 2010

The drought in the Central Karoo has become so severe that the Beaufort West municipality has introduced a water sharing scheme.

Beaufort West has introduced a water sharing scheme

The town has been divided into 12 areas, in which people will be unable to bath, shower or do laundry for 36 hours at a time.

“Residents in Hospitaalheuwel, Newton and Hooyvlakte were warned on Monday that the water pressure will be low (on Monday) and that they have to make provision by filling up buckets and water containers in advance,” said Hein Rust, head of disaster management in the Central Karoo district municipality.

“As the water table of the boreholes, which provide the town’s water, is so low, we have to lower the water pressure of the residential areas as a temporary emergency measure to decrease water use.

“This means that residents in the areas will not have normal water pressure in their taps from Tuesday 10:00 to Wednesday 20:00. There will be a thin stream for essential use. Continue reading

Russian Paper Mill Threatens Lake Baikal

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

In order to preserve jobs Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin issued a new decree that will allow the discharge of sewage waters into Lake Baikal, and for the storage and disposal of hazardous waste on the lake’s shores.

Lake Baikal. © Andrey Maximov / WWF Russia

Russia has opted to reopen a notoriously polluting paper mill situated in Baikalsk (Irkutsk region), on the South-Western shore of Lake Baikal, reversing long-time protections to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The resumption of work “….will mean that Russia violates its obligations as one of the signatory party of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention” said Igor Chestin, WWF Russia Director. “The new resolution weakens the protection level of the World Natural Heritage site”.

The 3.15-million-ha Lake Baikal in Siberia is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, according to UNESCO’s website. It contains 20 percent of the world’s total unfrozen freshwater reserve. Lake Baikal first received UNESCO designation in 1996.

Russian environmental organizations, including Greenpeace and WWF, have demanded that the government cancel the resolution. Environmentalists have also addressed The World Heritage Centre of UNESCO with a request to raise the Baikal problem at the soonest session of the UNESCO Committee.

Read full article: WWF