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

SA tap water could be undrinkable in 19 years

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 09 March 2011

Tap water in SA could be undrinkable in the next 19 years if the country does not change the way it uses water, or how it treats used water, scientists say.

Already, some of the tap water in SA contains poisons.

Blue-green algae produce toxins that rob water bodies of oxygen.

Poor quality water will negatively affect the economy, curbing the manufacturing sector directly and indirectly, says limnologist Bill Harding. Limnology is the study of freshwater bodies.

Despite Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica promising a turnaround in the parlous state of wastewater treatment almost a year ago, there has been no visible action taken to curb the risk from semi-treated water discharged into SA’s rivers and reservoirs, the scientists say.

Last year’s Green Drop (wastewater quality) report showed that only 32, or 3%, of SA’s estimated 850 wastewater treatment works complied with requirements for safe discharge. The report noted that only 449 of the works had been assessed, with the rest either ignoring, or being unable to comply with, the call to submit to scrutiny.

Only 32 (7%) complied with the Green Drop criteria after being measured for E. coli bacteria, nitrates, phosphates and ammonia and other nasties.

The national Green Drop Programme was launched in 2008 and was meant to cover all wastewater treatment works so as not to harm the water bodies into which they discharge their product. Continue reading SA tap water could be undrinkable in 19 years

Ice island calves from Greenland glacier

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

A University of Delaware researcher reports that an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan has calved from Greenland’s Petermann Glacier. The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962.

Research Tents on the Petermann Glacier. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean. Image courtesy of NASA.

“In the early morning hours of August 5, 2010, an ice island four times the size of Manhattan was born in northern Greenland,” said Andreas Muenchow, associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment. Muenchow’s research in Nares Strait, between Greenland and Canada, is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Satellite imagery of this remote area at 81 degrees N latitude and 61 degrees W longitude, about 620 miles [1,000 km] south of the North Pole, reveals that Petermann Glacier lost about one-quarter of its 43-mile long [70 km] floating ice-shelf.

Trudy Wohlleben of the Canadian Ice Service discovered the ice island within hours after NASA’s MODIS-Aqua satellite took the data on Aug. 5, at 8:40 UTC (4:40 EDT), Muenchow said. These raw data were downloaded, processed, and analyzed at the University of Delaware in near real-time as part of Muenchow’s NSF research.

Petermann Glacier, the parent of the new ice island, is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean.

The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building. Continue reading Ice island calves from Greenland glacier

Tap water alert

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 19 April 2010

The Blue Drop 2010 report released at the Water Institute of South Africa conference in Durban warned that the Department of Water Affairs had no confidence in the drinking water supply and management in the […]

2010 tap water is safe to drink

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 18 March 2010

Tap water in the 2010 Soccer World Cup host cities is safe to drink; the water affairs department assured soccer fans on Wednesday.

Visitors could be certain the tap water in host cities complied with required standards, Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica told journalists, speaking in Cape Town at the release of her department’s 2010 Host Cities Drinking Water Quality Management Audit Report.

According to the document all nine host cities – Cape Town, Ethekwini, Johannesburg, Mangaung, Nelson Mandela Bay, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Rustenburg and Pretoria – have achieved Blue Drop status.

Blue Drop certification means the city concerned has scored 95% or higher for its compliance with chemical and microbiological standards. Continue reading 2010 tap water is safe to drink

Grahamstown water debate continues

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 10 March 2010

The Makana municipality may have given Grahamstown’s tap water a clean bill of health, but experts are divided over whether it is, in fact, safe to drink.

Although a panel of Rhodes University professors and a packed gallery containing some equally learned experts did not see eye to eye on claims that the water was tainted by heavy metal toxins, they all agreed more tests needed to be done.

The meeting was chaired by Rhodes Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Dr Saleem Badat, but trying to get conclusive answers at Monday night’s Public Forum on Water Issues proved murkier than the often dirty looking water in the student town.

The decision to debate the quality of the town’s water comes hot on the heels of a Dispatch report last week on allegedly dangerous levels of toxic heavy metals coming from a tap at a local ostrich export abattoir.

Unacceptable levels of aluminium, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and coliforms were allegedly detected regularly in the water by a South African Bureau of Standards accredited laboratory conducting tests for the Integrated Meat Processors of the Eastern Cape (Impec) Abattoir. Continue reading Grahamstown water debate continues