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

WHO releases drinking-water guidelines

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 04 July 2011

The Guidelines are regarded globally as the most authoritative framework on drinking-water quality

Every year, two million people die from waterborne diseases and billions more suffer illness. But much of this ill-health and suffering is preventable.

The WHO drinking-water guidelines, released today, calls on governments to improve the quality of their drinking-water. The Guidelines compel water suppliers to systematically assess the risk of contaminants entering the water supply and to take action based on their findings.

Read an overview on the drinking-water guidelines

Download the Guidelines for drinking-water quality

Water partnership launched to protect SA’s water resources

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 05 May 2011

At the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs of South Africa Edna Molewa, Chairman of Nestlé and Chairman of the Water Resources Group Peter Brabeck-Letmathe announced today a Declaration of Partnership.

Water demand is expected to rise by 52% within 30 years while supply is sharply declining

Recognizing the critical role that water plays as a catalyst for both economic growth and social development, the Department of Water Affairs (DWA) of South Africa forges a partnership with the Water Resources Group (WRG), an influential public-private global network on water supported by the World Economic Forum and the International Finance Corporation.

This new public-private group, chaired by the director-general of the DWA, will oversee the activities of a partnership called “South Africa Strategic Water Partners Network” to address critical water issues in South Africa: water conservation, demand management and developing more sustainable management of groundwater resources.

“This new partnership between the Government of South Africa and the Water Resources Group will help identify how South Africa’s plans for growth can be met with the water it has safely available. The foresight and leadership of Minister Molewa in this regard should be applauded” remarked Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of Nestlé and Chairman of the Water Resources Group.

In South Africa, water demand is expected to rise by 52% within the next 30 years while the supply of water is sharply declining. If current trends of leakage from aged and poorly maintained municipal infrastructure and the loss of wetlands persist, this growth in demand will intensify competition for water resources across all sectors of the economy (agriculture, energy industry and domestic).

Should status quo in management practices remain, a gap of 17% between water demand and supply is forecast by 2030. This gap will have serious social and political implications and strongly impact South Africa’s plans for economic growth. Continue reading

South Africans are not paying enough water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 19 March 2011

Healthy eco-systems matter and South Africans are not paying enough for the water they get, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Agriculture uses at least 80% of our water in the Western Cape

“We haven’t yet shifted the public perception about how important water is and we’re running out of sites to build dams – there’re no other rivers with excess water,” WWF living lands unit head Mark Botha told News24.

He said that South Africans were not paying for the water they used and that the demand for water would exceed supply, despite plans to build dams.

“Municipalities need the income that water generates and so we’ve built ourselves into this dependency on water. If urban water demand keeps increasing, you’ll never get to water security unless you flatten the demand curve.”

As SA prepares for Water Day on March 22, authorities accept that something needs to be done about urban water consumption, and acknowledge that there are “legacy issues” to compound the water problems.

Maintenance

“We have various legacy issues: There has been inadequate maintenance and we’ve reached the point where there’s no lead time. We’ve consumed 52% of our water infrastructure – that’s a challenge,” said City of Cape Town director of water and sanitation services Lungile Dlamini.

Botha conceded that the city was improving water management, but urged that high water consumers be obligated to pay more for their consumption. Continue reading

South Africa faces a water crisis

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 15 February 2011

South Africa faces a water crisis and could start having critical shortages as early as 2020; experts told the inaugural South African Water and Energy Forum in Johannesburg.

Water shortages will largely be due to demand outstripping supply

The forum’s two-day conference is being held at the Sandton Sun for local and international experts to deliberate on water and energy supply issues in South Africa and globally.

Former Water Affairs director- general and visiting professor at the Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management Mike Muller told delegates that “a crisis is looming … If we don’t panic now and take action now, we will be in a crisis by 2020.”

Metropolitan municipalities including eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay, and the City of Johannesburg, will be the first to be hit by shortages.

The shortages, Muller said, will largely be due to water demand outstripping supply, and to a lesser extent by poor water quality as municipal infrastructure deteriorates.

Other contributing factors include leaking pipes and the theft of water for agricultural purposes by farmers along the Vaal River.

“Good water management is very important for growth and development,” said Muller.

“South Africa will not run out of water, but the next drought will see supply cuts. New work must start now.” Continue reading