Municipalities must improve water conservation measures

South Africa’s municipalities must address serious water management shortfalls and curb wasted and non-revenue water in their areas, according to the South African Local Government Association (Salga).

We're losing in the order of R7bn a year through poor water management

We’re losing in the order of R7bn a year through poor water management

The association of municipalities said on Tuesday that it wanted to benchmark demand management and ensure that municipalities, which are at the coalface of service delivery, monitor water use.

At a Department of Water and Environmental Affairs mayors’ dialogue in Johannesburg on Tuesday, mayors and municipal managers from across the country discussed water demand and the management of waste.

Salga acting executive director of municipal infrastructure services William Moraka said municipalities were losing “in the order of R7bn” a year through poor water management. That is equivalent to the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project over 20 years. The project in Lesotho supplies water to Gauteng province. Continue reading

Paris to Paris drought

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

Drought from Paris, France to Paris, Texas has farmers and grain dealers looking upwards. The farmers are looking to the skies for rain and the dealers are wondering where rising grain prices are going to stop.

Wheat belts show signs of irreversible drought damage

U.S. wheat prices are on their way to their biggest weekly gain and European benchmark wheat futures have jumped just under 30 percent in the past nine weeks as wheat belts on both sides of the Atlantic show signs of irreversible drought damage.

“We need Mother Nature’s help to save a crop, which whatever happens will be mediocre,” said a senior European trader, referring to France, the EU’s biggest wheat producer.

An unusually dry and hot spring in top EU wheat producers and severe dryness in U.S. states Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, have revived memories of the dry summer of 2010, which ravaged Russian and Ukrainian wheat harvests and choked off supplies from the key exporters.

Food security is a global concern and the UN’s food body has issued repeated warnings about food price inflation since last year’s Black Sea drought.

Rising food prices helped fuel the unrest which toppled the heads of Egypt and Tunisia earlier this year, triggering protests in many Arab countries.

Black Sea wheat may this year go some way to meeting lost production from EU and U.S. fields but governments and consumers anxious to secure reliable food supplies will be sensitive to anything that threatens the flow of grain. Continue reading

Know your water footprint

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

A major step toward standardisation of water footprint measurement has just been achieved, with the issuing of a global assessment manual by the Water Footprint Network.

An average of 140 litres of water to produce a cup of coffee

The assessment manual, issued by the 139-member network and scientists of the University of Twente in the Netherlands, complements the recently completed Global Water Footprint Standard in giving consistency to measures of water use and impact.

“The Global Water Footprint Standard comes at a time when companies in all sectors are awakening to the risk that water scarcity poses to their bottom lines and reputations,” said Jim Leape, Director General of WWF International, a leading member of the Water Footprint Network.

“This work helps companies understand their dependency and impact on water resources, and offers guidance on response strategies that conserve water for industry, communities and nature.”

By measuring the amount of freshwater used in goods and services consumed or in production, the water footprint concept is helping companies reduce water use where it is most wasteful. Similarly, it helps banks assess water-related risks prior to making investments and governments improve water management.

How much water do you use? Continue reading

Water rethink as migrants pour into Cape Town

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 06 December 2010

Tens of thousands of migrants pouring into Cape Town are forcing authorities to rethink the city’s water supply strategy.

Migration growth is now "16 000 households per annum" at 5 people per household

“There are quite large numbers of people coming in and the city needs to review its water-use growth strategy,” department of water affairs’ Western Cape chief director, Rashid Khan, told Sapa.

He said assumptions made by Cape Town’s water planners in 2007 were “now being overtaken by some serious developments, that is (population) growth”.

His remarks followed an announcement by the department that it was “exploring initiatives to ensure that water use in and around Cape Town does not outstrip supply in the near future”.

It had recently learned that “water use may be growing faster than anticipated”, despite significant successes achieved by the city in reducing water usage.

“An increase in demand could have serious implications for the supply area, as the next augmentation project may well have to be fast-tracked to ensure an adequate supply of water to every city, town and industry that gets its water from the Western Cape Water Supply System (WCWSS). Continue reading