Category Archives: General Water Sector News from Africa

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Mpumalanga municipality misses deadline to pay Rand Water R111m

The Victor Khanye Local Municipality in Mpumalanga, which provides services to Delmas, Sundra,
Eloff and Rietkol, has missed its deadline for the payment of R111m in
outstanding debt to Rand Water.

This comes after Rand Water said
in a statement on Thursday last week that it would reduce water pressure to the
municipality by 40% and subject it to credit control measures if the deadline
was missed.

In an attempt to get clarity from
the municipality about the situation, the Delmas community submitted a
petition, signed by 3 000 people, addressed to the Mpumalanga treasury, the
municipality and Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Mandla Msibi.

But Democratic Alliance (DA)
councillor in the municipality Diane Bath said even they were struggling to get
answers on the water crisis from the mayor, Eva Makabane, and the acting
municipal manager, Thabitha Matladi.

‘Still not enough’

Most
residents rely on communal JoJo tanks for their water. The tanks have been put
in strategic areas, Bath said.

“These
tanks are filled twice daily, but it is still not enough as there are many
private residences and government institutions in the area.”

Rand Water has threatened to
throttle the water supply to about 90% if an acceptable payment plan is not
presented.

An official at the municipality, who
did not want to be named, told News24 that the municipality was trying to get
R7m to settle this month’s water account.

The municipality did not respond
to written questions sent to them by News24.

George Mthethwa of the Department
of Corporate Governance and Traditional Affairs said a meeting between the MEC,
the municipality and Rand Water would be held on Thursday.

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/mpumalanga-municipality-misses-deadline-to-pay-rand-water-r111m-20191003
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City of Johannesburg, Sandton Gautrain operator reach agreement over water cuts

An almost three-week water cut at the Sandton Gautrain station is expected to come to an end after the City of Johannesburg reached an out-of-court settlement with operator Bombela Concession Company.

The water supply was cut off earlier in September after the Gautrain station’s landlord, Cedar Park Properties, failed to pay municipal rates since 2013.

According to Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, the property company failed to settle around R8m in debt that had accumulated in recent years.

READ: No water for Sandton Gautrain station until landlord pays R8m – City of Johannesburg

As a result of the water cuts at the station in Sandton, a case was opened against the City by the Gauteng provincial government and Bombela Concession Company, Mashaba said in a statement.

“However, the City and the owners of the Gautrain have reached an out-of-court settlement that will result in the case being withdrawn.

“The City has agreed to provide the Sandton Gautrain station with its own water meter which will result in the City billing Gautrain directly for its water usage.

“The City has agreed to install this new meter within two days of the Bombela Concession Company paying the City R120 000 in respect of the aforementioned water connection and associated installation costs.”

Mashaba added the agreement with Gautrain would not affect the City’s case against Cedar Park, saying the City was interested in generating revenue from services such as water.

“The City remains confident it can win this case. We are unapologetic for cutting the water supply to the property and the taps will remain dry at the remainder of the property until Cedar Park settles its R8m debt with the City.”

READ MORE: City of Joburg launches investigation into sale of Sandton Gautrain land

“The City cannot reconnect water to defaulting corporate customers who think they can bully the City into submission.

“It is frankly unethical for a private company to expect the government to incur costs while providing it with free services. This, while our residents are expected to fork out their hard-earned money on a monthly basis.”

The mayor said with a growing debtor’s book, the City could not afford to have its high-consuming corporate customers fall behind on payments of municipal accounts.

“Ultimately, failure to pay municipal debts negatively impacts service delivery which is budgeted for on revenue generation forecasts,” Mashaba said.

“I will not rest until the City gets to the bottom of this apparent criminality and ensure that those who have elected to steal from our residents face the full might of the law.”

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/city-of-johannesburg-sandton-gautrain-operator-reach-agreement-over-water-cuts-20191001
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Water department ropes in divers to resolve Queenstown water supply issues

The provincial Department of Water and Sanitation has roped in divers to resolve the current technical issues faced at the Waterdown Dam that supplies water to Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.

In a statement on Wednesday, the department said current water levels stood at 29%. 

The Waterdown Dam is situated about 62km outside Queenstown. 

“The levels dropped below the levels of the valves normally utilised to supply water to the area,” the statement read.

As a result, the department will aim to utilise valves further below, which are 20m lower than the ones usually used.

“The services of a diver have been procured to go deeper into the dam and release the valve that will allow for the right pressure to release water to Queenstown,” said the statement.

The reason to go deeper into the dam, according to the department, was due to the fact that the valves were inactive for years, which had led to them becoming stuck and unresponsive. 

Previously, it was found that oil contamination had halted the release of the water.

The department has also roped in the services of a second team that will dive even deeper. 

“All of this procurement of services was made in order to secure water flows to the town and is being done within the prescripts of the department’s supply chain management,” the department said.

It also hopes that the Xonxa Dam water supply project on the White Kei River will be ready for commissioning by September 23.

The multimillion-rand project is expected to supply water to Queenstown and surrounding areas and the department hopes, given the low levels in the Waterdown Dam, the project can be fast-tracked.

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/water-department-ropes-in-divers-to-resolve-queenstown-water-supply-issues-20190918
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Water utility plans to reduce water pressure of 3 municipalities who are in arrears

Three municipalities, which owe Rand Water hundreds of millions of rand, will have reduced water pressure if they fail to pay by October 1, the water utility announced on Thursday.

“The municipalities have failed to honour signed agreements to settle the outstanding amounts due to Rand Water. It will now implement these credit control measures to compel them to meet their obligations,” spokesperson Justice Mohale said in a statement.

Water pressure to the Emfuleni Local Municipality in Gauteng will be reduced by 20% as it owes R423 404 724.88.

Affected areas include Vereeniging, Vanderbijlpark, Evaton, Sebokeng and Sharpeville.

In Mpumalanga, two municipalities would be subjected to credit control measures, Mohale said.

The water pressure to the Govan Mbeki Local Municipality will be reduced by a further 20 to 40% as it owed R179 508 981.87

Areas affected will be Bethal, Embalenhle, Leandra and Kinross.

Mohale said water pressure to the Victor Khanye Municipality had already been reduced to 40% as it owed R111 198 676.27. The municipality includes areas such Delmas, Botleng, Eloff and Sundra.

“The provincial departments of cooperative governance and traditional affairs in Gauteng and Mpumalanga have been informed of Rand Water’s intended action,” Mohale added.

– Compiled by Tammy Petersen

Source Article from https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/water-utility-plans-to-reduce-water-pressure-of-3-municipalities-who-are-in-arrears-20190926
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Stinkwater groundwater not fit for human consumption, CSIR study finds

Groundwater in Stinkwater, north of Pretoria, is not safe for human consumption and even contains faecal pollution, a Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) study has found.

The results of the study, published on Thursday, were part of a three-year research project aimed at investigating the health risks that untreated groundwater posed to residents and exploring potential interventions.

“People need clean water to consume, irrigate, for livestock, etc, but water is a luxury many do not have access to,” said CSIR senior scientist and laboratory manager Wouter le Roux.

READ: Water in Hammanskraal not fit for human consumption – SAHRC

Le Roux said Stinkwater residents had no access to piped water distributions and relied on water which municipal trucks delivered. But he added that it wasn’t always enough.

Le Roux explained that residents had found their own solution to water access through hand-dug wells.

This untreated water exposed them to various health risks.

According to a CSIR statement, 144 water samples were collected over a two-year period over the wet and dry seasons. Most samples were taken from hand-dug wells.

“The study found that fluoride exceeded the drinking water standard ( a maximum of 3.6 mg/L) in 9% of samples and nitrate exceeded the drinking water standard (an average of 23.1 mg/L) in 87% of samples.

Escherichia coli bacteria, which is used as an indicator of faecal pollution was also detected in most samples, Le Roux said.

READ MORE: OUTA says it’s found E. coli bacteria in Hammanskraal water

“Nitrate can occur naturally in surface and groundwater at a level that does not generally cause health problems. Groundwater can be contaminated with nitrate that comes from fertilisers, septic systems, animal feedlots, industrial waste and food processing waste.”

He added that the South African National Standard specifies that drinking water should not contain more than 11 mg/L nitrate (measured as N03-N) but in this study, the average nitrate concentration was found to be 23.1 mg/L.

“Most researchers agree that water containing nitrate at concentrations that is above the 10 mg/L safe level is not safe for human consumption because there is a risk of adverse health effects like methaemoglobinaemia. Drinking water should also not contain any E. coli bacteria as this suggests that there is a risk of diarrheal diseases.”

Le Roux said the CSIR was looking at ways to use nano-engineered clays and plants to remove nitrate from the water, rendering it safer for consumption.

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Tanzania: Why Protecting Water Sources Is Important

Dar es Salaam — Experts in the water sector have called for quick interventions to protect Tanzania’s water basins that have been experiencing a decline from time to time due to human activities.

The decline threatens irrigation farming, fishing, energy generation and other economic activities which depend on water resource.

Water is abundant but only about 2.5 per cent of the world’s water is usable while the remainder is not suitable for consumption.

Tanzania is often portrayed as a water surplus country due to presence of large water bodies but their levels have been reportedly slowing.

Water engineer Pascal Joseph said increase in population, climate change, uncoordinated water use as well as industrial investments have been causing a decrease in surface water.

“The population has been increasing and continue depending on the same water sources which causes it to depreciate,” he said.

Highlighting the water capacity in Wami and Ruvu river basins, he said in 2014, the water cubic liters in Wami basin was 562 million compared to 380 million in 2015.

While in 2016 was 452 million compared to 578 million in 2017 and 509 million in 2018. For the Ruvu Basin, he said the cubic liters in 2017 was 2.263 billion compared to 2.115 billion in 2018.

In view of this, he said there was need to come up with solutions including having the right statistics for water users, harvesting water as well as drilling ground water to supplement the basins.

The legislation devolves water resources management to basin level entities. Thus, Tanzania is divided into nine River Lake basins namely: Pangani, Wami Ruvu, Rufiji, Ruvuma and the Southern Coast, Lake Nyasa, Internal Drainage Basin, Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria Basins.

On his part, director of water resources, Dr George Lugomela said total Renewable Water Resources was 130,037 Million M³/Year, or 2365M³/Year Per Capita in 2018.

According to him the demand for water in Tanzania is 39,645 equal to 30.5 percent in 2015, 52,152 same as 40.1 per cent in 2015 and 57,560 equivalent to 44.3 per cent in 2035.

He said population and economic growth, along with increased climate variability are currently exacerbating water stresses in many of Basins such as Pangani, Wamiruvu, Rufiji (Great Ruaha) Basins.

Diminishing quantity and deterioration of water quality resulting from a wide range of economic activities is reducing the available amount of fresh water including pollution degradation of water catchment, impacting ecosystems, increasing siltation and the costs of water treatment.

Balancing of socio-economic needs and environmental ecological requirements, increased demands due growing populations and competing economic sectors is leaving insufficient water to sustain the environmental flows that keep the ecosystems healthy.

However he noted that challenges include insufficient data and information on water availability, use and quality; capacity constraint, water resources governance and management institutions; conflicting functions and uncoordinated planning and investments, weak coordination among sectors; and inadequate funding and inadequate water resources infrastructure.

He said Tanzania’s economy and population depend heavily on water as an input to production, source of energy, livelihoods, health and environmental sustenance.

Water-intensive sectors including agriculture (80 per cent use of available freshwater), industry and renewable natural resource-based activities such as forestry, tourism and fisheries account for most of GDP.

Despite of having plentiful sources of water, each of these water bodies exhibit unique characteristics and a complex range of water resources management and development issues and challenges.

Likewise, frequent and intense water shortages and water use conflicts exist in many areas both because of climate variability, poor distribution of the resource in time and space, and inadequate management of the water resources.

“As a result, this calls for a more coordinated and integrated participatory water resources management and development,” he said.

Explaining he said there are missing gaps in managing water resources where various water user groups in catchments, like irrigation, industry, fishing, water supply, hydropower generation, recreation, forestry, the environment and local communities, all claim to use and manage the water resource albeit in a manner suited to their own needs.

The many uses of water and the many types of users and managers implies that water resources management involves a wide array of decision and actors whose actions, if not properly coordinated, can only result into conflicts which negatively affect the same sectors and other users and the services they intend to provide.

He said there was need for sound decisions made jointly that will maximize desirable outcomes, minimize undesirable consequences and lead to sustainable outcomes in order to eliminate conflicts and sustainably provide the intended services.