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

What are the merits of fracking?

By: Jeremy Westgarth-Taylor

Test results indicate that at least one common fracking chemical has contaminated drinking water in the town of Pavillion, Wyoming.

How strange it is that a department DEA (Department of Environmental Affairs) which ironically shares a ministerial portfolio with Water Affairs (DWEA) should suggest that fracking be given a chance and saying that there was “merit” in carrying out some hydraulic fracturing.  There were no merits in what was reported though the report did mention one demerit in what they had said viz – “the avoidance of the contamination of fresh water resources” in the Karoo.  So what in fact are the merits of fracking?  As there were no meritorious things mentioned we have a chance to look at some of the negative things.

 

  • Shell’s employees are on record as having said that they wish to burn the methane gas produced from fracking wells on their pad sites.  These pads will be on somebodies farmlands, and they plan to generate electricity from the burning of the gas thus sending millions of tons of carbon dioxide per annum into the air.  This will supplement the CO2 already generated in South Africa from the burning of coal.  The question should be asked why use fossil fuels to generate electricity? Have they not heard that economists agree that it is now less expensive to generate electricity with renewables such as from photo voltaic panels i.e. solar energy than by using fossil fuels.  Continue reading What are the merits of fracking?

Blue Gold could ignite military conflict

Expert warns of future SADC water conflicts. Africa faces absolute water shortages by 2025

Recent statistics and developments indicate that availability of the precious liquid ‑ or blue gold as it is now called ‑ is declining and has the potential to be a major source of military conflict.

The Nsanje Inland Port on Shire River sparked a diplomatic dispute

And SADC is not immune to the problem.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Environmental Outlook to 2030 Report, about 1.2 billion people are living in areas of water scarcity, while 47 percent of the global population will live in areas of high water stress by 2030.

It is statistics such as these that have analysts worrying that future wars will be fought over blue gold, as thirsty people, opportunistic politicians and powerful corporations battle for dwindling resources.

Last week an official in Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, Henrie Manford Njiloma, warned that rising populations and industrial development in SADC were resulting in increased water demand and could cause political instability if not managed well.

In particular reference to Malawi, he said: “Despite enjoying political stability internally and peaceful coexistence with neighbours, subtle issues in the Malawian water sector affecting both internal and external political stability exist and hence as seen elsewhere in the world could be a cause for future conflicts.” Continue reading Blue Gold could ignite military conflict

Africa’s water could rescue the continent from climate change

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 28 Nov 2011

The African continent is the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its dependence on rain-fed agriculture but can harness the potential for hydropower, said Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa […]

Fog harvesting to provide poor with water

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 22 Nov 2011

Mpumalanga's weather stations recorded 225 days of fog in 2010

A study is being done to see if Mpumalanga’s poorest communities can harvest fog as a vital water source.

The national Department of Rural Development and Land Reform plans to conduct a pilot project next year with the hope of rolling out fog harvesting to communities along the province’s eastern escarpment.

“If the pilot project yields positive results, we will consider a large scale roll-out to feed into local water distribution networks,” said department spokesman Eddie Mohoebi on Monday.

It is hoped the project will alleviate water shortages in South Africa, which is one of 30 countries with the worst water scarcity in the world. The country’s average annual rainfall of 450mm is nearly half of the global average of 860mm per year.

Communities in Cabazane village near Mount Ayliff in the Eastern Cape and Thohoyandou in Limpopo are already harvesting fog and providing clean water for their basic needs.

Fog is caught by a 40 square metre net made of stainless mesh co-knitted with a poly material attached to six-metre-high wooden poles.

Gutters, attached to the bottom of the net, catch the water droplets and lead it down into reservoirs.

The pilot project in Mpumalanga aims to produce 5 000 litres to 15 000 litres of water per day through fog harvesting. Continue reading Fog harvesting to provide poor with water

More than half of SA ecosystems are threatened

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 21 Nov 2011

South Africa’s water resources and adjacent ecosystems are in a terrible state, with only 35% of the total length of the country’s mainstream rivers still in good condition.

The high levels of threat results particularly from intense land pressures.

The recently released Atlas of Freshwater Ecosystem Priority Areas reveals that 57% of river ecosystems and 65% of wetland ecosystems are threatened.

Mandy Driver, the SA National Biodiversity Institute’s manager of biodiversity policy, said the Biodiversity Assessment published seven years ago highlighted the poor state of many river ecosystems, with the majority of the country’s large rivers rated “critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.

“We needed a strategic intervention to help sustain and conserve freshwater ecosystems, and the Atlas is the result.”

The team, who spent three years researching and compiling the Atlas, found tributaries overall were in a “far better state” than mainstream rivers.

“They also support the sustainability of hard-working rivers further downstream by diluting poor quality water and flushing pollutants. Only 35% of the length of mainstream rivers is in good condition, compared to 57% of tributaries. Continue reading More than half of SA ecosystems are threatened