Agreement signed for phase 2 of Lesotho water project

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

SA’s minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa and Lesotho Minister of Natural Resources Monyana Moleleki, have signed an agreement for the implementation of the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

the second phase of the agreement will include a pump storage scheme that will use the existing Katse Reservoir

The agreement was signed in Maseru, Lesotho. Phase two of the LHWP will consist of a water delivery system to supplement the delivery of water to South Africa and a hydropower generation system.

“The purpose of our cooperation is to strengthen regional integration by using water as a catalyst for socio-economic development with a key African partner,” Molewa said.

She said the nature of the cooperation was aimed at mutual development of the two countries’ water sources as a foundation and catalyst for an integrated economy.

The project will have an installed electricity capacity of between 1000 to 1200megawatts hydropower generation, and will influence industries in both countries. Continue reading

Ethiopians in need of food aid due to La Nina

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

By: Aaron Maasho

More than two million Ethiopians are in need of food aid due to drought caused by one of the worst La Nina weather phenomenon in a decade, the United Nations said.

Oromiya Region, Ethiopia. Photo by Andrew Heavens

La Nina, which was blamed for Australia’s floods this year, is an abnormal cooling of waters in the Pacific Ocean that wreaks havoc with weather patterns across the Asia-Pacific region, and has brought poor rains to the Horn of Africa.

The U.N. humanitarian affairs office (UNOCHA) said the March-May rainy season had largely failed in Ethiopia’s lowland areas, and appealed for $75 million in food and other assistance to meet the needs of two million people.

“Pasture and traditional water sources un-replenished by rains have been depleted in most of the affected areas,” UNOCHA said in a report released late on Wednesday.

“Animal body conditions are declining rapidly, resulting in lower livestock prices at market even as the price of staple cereals is increasing.”

An additional one million people are also seeking relief aid throughout Ethiopia — one of the world’s largest recipients of foreign aid, receiving more than $3 billion in 2008, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW). Continue reading

More water to be made available for growth

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 April 2011

The Department of Water Affairs has promised to work together with South Africans in order to make more water available for communities and economic growth.

De Hoop Dam project visualization by GESS

Minister in the department Edna Molewa said that they were building on the significant progress they had made in commissioning key water projects of strategic economic importance to the country.

These, she said, included the Mokolo and Crocodile River (West) project set to supply water to Eskom’s new Medupi power station and other industries in the area.

The project would also assist households within the Lephalale Municipality from 2014 onwards.

The estimated cost of the first phase of the project was R2 billion, with R600 million set to be spread over the next three years.

She said they had also awarded a R2.2 billion contract for the construction of the Spring Grove Dam on the Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal to supply water to the Ilembe District and the Ethekwini Metropolitan area by November next year. Continue reading

Flooding may cause drinking water contamination

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 26 January 2011

Recent widespread flooding may increase the risk for outbreaks associated with the contamination of drinking water sources, warns the Water Research Commission (WRC). However, the risk of outbreaks can be minimized if the risk is well recognized and disaster-response addresses the provision of clean water as a priority.

The obvious impact of the floods is damage to crops, irrigation equipment and farming infrastructure. Photo: Bongiwe Mchunu

Mr Jay Bhagwan, Director at the WRC, says “There is an increased risk of infection with water-borne diseases contracted through direct contact with polluted waters, such as wound infections, dermatitis, conjunctivitis, and ear, nose and throat infections”.

Floods may indirectly lead to an increase in vector-borne diseases through the expansion in the number and range of vector habitats. Standing water resulting from heavy rainfall or overflow of rivers can act as breeding sites for mosquitoes, and therefore enhance the potential for exposure of the disaster-affected population and emergency workers to infections.

Bhagwan further says “Flooding may initially flush out mosquito breeding, but it comes back when the waters recede. The lag time is usually around 6-8 weeks before the onset of a malaria epidemic”.

“Generally, floods contribute to the lessening or the dilution of pollutants provided there are no sewage and chemical spills. A bigger concern is the increase in the sediments, plants, trees, litter and other objects” Bhagwan adds. Continue reading

Mossel Bay rain makes little difference to dam level

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

The rain that fell last weekend was most welcome from an agricultural and gardening point of view, but the 31 mm received in the catchment area of the Wolwedans Dam was again unfortunately insufficient to make much of a difference to the level of the dam, says the Municipality in a news release on the water situation in Mossel Bay.

It is anticipated that the Wolwedans Dam will be empty by October 2010

The dam’s level rose by about 0,4%, which is equal to 100 megalitres of water and about three to four days of extraction from the dam by PetroSA, farmers and the Municipality. It is therefore still anticipated that the dam will be empty by October 2010, unless sufficient rain is received before then

Although the much smaller Ernst Robertson dam is more than 100% full, water from this dam is released into the Wolwedans Dam. The effect of the Ernst Robertson dam as well as the five megalitres a day of purified effluent water supplied to PetroSA from the newly commissioned Reverse Osmosis plant at Hartenbos has been taken into account in determining the date on which Mossel Bay is expected to run out of potable water at present consumption levels.

“The rains in June and July so far were obviously most welcome, but unfortunately did not buy us much extra time. It did, however, have the effect of generally greening the environment, and this may perhaps create a perception that the situation is not as serious as people are told. I, however, want to reiterate that the situation remains extremely serious and is in fact deteriorating. The water restrictions also remain in place. Continue reading