Tag Archives: Botswana

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Botswana: Government Addresses Water Crisis

The government is undertaking supplementary water projects around the country to augment the looming water crisis. The minister of Mineral Energy and Water Resources Mr Kitso Mokaila said an interview on Wednesday, after touring boreholes and pump stations at Ramotswa and Boatle. He said with the country faced with low rainfall and the looming draught, there was need for government to supplement water supply.

The government is undertaking supplementary water projects around the country to augment the looming water crisis.

The minister of Mineral Energy and Water Resources Mr Kitso Mokaila said an interview on Wednesday, after touring boreholes and pump stations at Ramotswa and Boatle.

He said with the country faced with low rainfall and the looming draught, there was need for government to supplement water supply.

“With issues of low rainfall and drought, government has undertaken to do certain projects to mitigate against the situation,” he said.

Mr Mokaila said exploiting supplementary water sources to add on to the existing grid, would be a relief in case the country experiences low rainfall during the upcoming rainy season.

In Ramotswa, he said there are undertaking a project to exploit boreholes.

He added the project has the capacity to produce about 13 million liters of water to the national grid for the Ramotswa cluster.

He explained that his tour of the projects in Ramotswa was mainly to appreciate progress made in connecting supplementary water sources.

Minister Moikala further allayed fears that water from the boreholes in Ramotswa area is not safe for human consumption.

He said his ministry has already tested water samples from the area and the results have shown that the water can be treated for human consumption.

However, the minister regretted the extent of vandalism at various boreholes in the area, saying it could impact on the timely delivery of the project.

He added that if all go according to plan, water from the boreholes would be added to supplement water for the Ramotswa cluster before the end of the year.

For his part, Ramotswa cluster Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) manager Mr Kenny Labane said water from the nine Ramotswa boreholes would be used to supplement water from Gaborone.

He pointed that it would be possible to blend water from Gaborone and that of the boreholes before it is distributed for consumption to the cluster which covers Borolong and Lobatse areas.

However, he explained that there was an ongoing project at Lobatse, which would address water shortage in the area.

While in Ramotswa, Minister Mokaila who was accompanied by his staff and South East District council officials also visited the new public standpipes at Magope ward. Ends

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Southern Africa Shows the Way With Water

Africa, Development & Aid, Environment, Featured, Headlines, Natural Resources, Projects, Regional Categories, TerraViva United Nations, The Southern Africa Water Wire, Water & Sanitation

 

John Fraser interviews PROFESSOR ANTHONY TURTON, a trustee of the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa.

Professor Anthony Turton, a trustee of the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa, says water will be key to the growth of the Southern African Development Community. Credit: John Fraser/IPS

Professor Anthony Turton, a trustee of the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa, says water will be key to the growth of the Southern African Development Community. Credit: John Fraser/IPS

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 20 2013 (IPS) – Water remains a key component in development policy. And, as the Southern African Development Community discusses how best to develop the region, the effective management of watercourses will be key, says Professor Anthony Turton, one of the foremost experts on water policy in southern Africa and a trustee of the Water Stewardship Council of Southern Africa.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has an ambitious 500-billion dollar regional development plan that aims to develop the region’s roads, rails, and ports. The generation of power, and establishment of communication lines and meteorological systems have also been outlined as important to the region’s development.

Turton told IPS in an interview that the SADC Water Protocol, which outlines the practical implementation of management, protection and use of the shared watercourses in the region, is regarded globally as a model example of regional water integration. Currently, about 70 percent of the region’s water is shared between two or more countries.

“Energy is a national developmental constraint for many countries, but if the hydro potential of SADC is fully realised then regional energy security will replace national deficiencies,” Turton said.

“To do this we need regional [cooperation] over water, which is why the SADC Water Protocol was the first signed after South Africa joined the grouping. The private sector is now starting to come to the party, most notably in the mining and agribusiness sectors, where water and energy constraints are being recognised.”

Excerpts of the interview follow:

Q: What is the track record of past cooperation, in terms of success on the plus side or inefficiency and corruption on the other?

A: The SADC region is often cited in the global water sector as being the best example of water cooperation in transboundary resource management. The SADC Water Protocol is the foundation document for SADC regional integration, and serves the same purpose as the original coal, iron and steel agreements played in the creation of the European Economic Community and later the European Union. Cooperation over shared water in SADC is thus high.

Regarding corruption, the best case was that of Masupha Sole who was a senior executive in Lesotho Highlands water scheme who was indicted and imprisoned for corrupt dealings involving major construction companies in the 1980s and 1990s, some of which were South African. That case became one of the world’s first in getting a conviction, so I guess it is actually a good news story.

Q: In practical terms, do any worthwhile future or potential regional water projects come to mind?

A: On a grand scale there are major inter-basin transfer projects such as the Lesotho Highlands between Lesotho and South Africa; the North-South Carrier in Botswana; the Eastern National Water Carrier in Namibia and the Cunene-Cuvelai project between Angola and Namibia. Another interesting project is the first major desalination plant at Trekopje in Namibia. I believe this will be the first of many in the SADC region.

Q: Do you believe that climate change is a real threat to the region, and if so how might it have an impact?

A: In short yes. Greenhouse gas concentration is likely to raise ambient air temperatures by as much as four and maybe even six degrees Celcius in some parts of southern Africa – assuming a global rise of two degrees Celcius is “acceptable”. This will fundamentally alter the conversion ratio of rainfall to runoff, but it will also increase evaporative losses off dams.

An appropriate mitigation strategy is Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) (also known as Managed Aquifer Recharge – MAR), now a mainstream technology in places like California, Texas and Australia, but not yet in widespread use in the SADC region. I am currently working with an Australian technology provider to introduce this into Botswana. This stores water underground rather than in dams, preventing the losses to evaporation and thus greatly improving the sustainable yield of a given system.

Q:   Why is there a need for SADC countries to cooperate over water issues?

A: The four most economically diverse countries in southern Africa are highly water constrained (South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe), whereas some of the neighbouring states are water abundant (Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia). Water is to SADC as coal, iron ore and energy was to the creation of the European Economic Community (which later became the EU). Water cooperation in the SADC region will enable regional integration to mitigate these risks by allowing regional water, food and energy security to be guaranteed at regional rather than at national level.

 

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NEPAD Water CoE’s Country Water Resource Profiles

Mozambique Country Water Resource ProfileFor the first time, the NEPAD Water CoEs CWRPs combine the various physical hydrology [water resource and its exploitation], with a look at the service associated with water delivery [infrastructure], the social setting of the nation and how the management of water in terms of allocation and distribution works in the respective countries and to some extent its international obligations and relationships related to shared water resources.  It also identifies the education resources and institutions in the water sector. The objective is to initially create the CWRPs for all Southern African Countries, from where the other African Countries will be developed.

You can download the NEPAD Water CoE’s CWRPs for:

We are also in the process of finalising the NEPAD Water CoE’s CWRPs for the following countries, and will be available soon.

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zambia
  • Malawi

Angola: Minister Points Out Water As Factor of Unity

Luanda — The minister of Energy and Waters, João Baptista Borges, said Tuesday in the Republic of Tagiskistan that water must constitute a factor of union and not of discord, Angop has learnt.

He said so at the opening of the international conference of high level on the co-operation in the domain of water, due to close on Wednesday.

The Minister pointed out as example the co-operation with Namibia, related to drinkable water supply and irrigation of bordering areas and the elaboration of the joint project studies for power production.

João Baptista Borges highlighted the co-operation with neighbouring countries fo SADC and Central Africa, in the management of hydrografic basins – Cunene and Kuvelai (Namibia), Okovango – Namibia and Botswana – and Zambeze – Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania, and Congo basin, with various African countries.

He also mentioned the projects being carried out by the Angolan Executive in the ambit of the fight against hunger and improvement of people living standards in urban and rural areas, having mentioned the water for all programme, that aims at supply of drinkable water for 80 per cent of the Angolan population by 2015.

The Minister also mentioned the holding of the first international conference on energy and waters, on September 25-26, this year, in Angola.

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Water: A Source of Peace in SADC

Barbara Lopi
April 06, 2013

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC), water in is seen as a source of peace rather than conflict.

This was a key message emphasized by SADC’s Director of Infrastructure and Services Mr. Remigious Makumbe during a workshop to Promote Cooperation and Conflict Prevention in Transboundary Water Resources held recently as part of the activities to commemorate the 2013 World Water Day whose theme is Water Cooperation.

SADC’s Director of Infrastructure and Services Mr. Remigious Makumbe

SADC’s Director of Infrastructure and Services Mr. Remigious Makumbe

The a three-day workshop held in Phakalane, Botswana, was organized by the SADC Secretariat and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in line with the theme for this year’s World Water Day, commemorated on March 22.

The 2013 World Water Day theme of Water Cooperation coincides with the UN General Assembly Declaration of 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation (Resolution A/RES/65/154).

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

2013 is International Year of Water Cooperation

The workshop was attended by decision makers from the Ministries responsible for Water in the SADC Member States, and representatives of River Basin Organizations in the region. The aim of the workshop was to enhance the capacity of high level water decision makers on transboundary water conflict management and cooperation.

Participants shared and exchanged sub-regional experiences on water cooperation as well as learnt more about designing and conducting negotiation processes on transboundary water-related issues.

Within the SADC region, cooperation is a key component in the regional instruments such as the SADC Treaty, the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO).

Water cooperation is specifically promoted through the revised SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses which was first ratified in 1998 and revised in 2003 to foster close and coordinated co-operation in the management, protection and utilization of Shared Watercourses, and to advance the SADC agenda of regional integration and poverty alleviation.

In his welcome remarks to the workshop Mr. Makumbe noted that water was playing a major role in promoting transparency, dialogue and very high degree of cooperation among Member States in SADC.

SADC Secretariat Senior Programme Officer for Water, Mr. Phera Ramoeli said the signing and ratification of Watercourse Agreements such as the Permanent Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM), covering Angola, Botswana and Namibia; the Orange-Senqu River Commission (ORASECOM), covering Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa; the Limpopo Water Commission (LIMCOM) covering Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique; and the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) covering Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe is testimony to the high degree of cooperation and working as one family.

Senior Programme Officer for Water at the SADC Secretariat  Phera Ramoeli

Senior Programme Officer for Water at the SADC Secretariat Phera Ramoeli

Over 70 per cent of the SADC region’s fresh water resources are shared between two or more Member States, a situation that has been the basis for the development and adoption of a series of regional instruments to support the joint management and development of shared water courses.

The SADC instruments for water cooperation include the Regional Water Policy, adopted in 2005; the Regional Water Strategy adopted in 2006 and Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources and Development Management which was first approved by SADC Summit in August 1998 to run in five-year phases.

SADC logo

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The SADC Water Division is currently coordinating implementation of the third phase of the Regional Strategic Action Plan on Integrated Water Resources Management and Development (RSAP) 2011-2015.

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Contract awarded for potable water plant in northern Botswana

Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies South Africa subsidiary Veolia Water Solutions (VWS) Envig Botswana was awarded a contract to design, supply and commission a 6 000 m3/d pot- able water plant in Maun, northern Botswana.

A joint venture between a group of companies awarded the contract last month. The plant is located near the banks of the Thamalakane river and commissioning is scheduled for September. It will be operated and maintained by VWS Envig Botswana for six months.

The new plant will augment the supply from underground acquifers, which become impractical to maintain during the nearby Okavango Delta’s flood season. To maintain consumer demand during these periods, the plant will source water directly from the river.

River water is high in dissolved organic compounds, which give the water its characteristic brownish colour and earthy smell and taste, despite its normally low turbidity, says VWS Envig Botswana MD Peter Healy.

To make the water suitable for human consumption, it will be clarified through ballasted flocculation to remove the extremely lightweight organic particles that would otherwise settle very slowly.

Veolia will install its patented Actiflo high-rate water clarification system.

Featuring footprints that are five times smaller than conventional clarifiers, the Actiflo will achieve rapid settling with the help of Actisand – a ballast designed to rapidly flocculate and settle organic particles. The water will then be polished with multimedia and granular- activated carbon filters and disinfected before being fed into the town’s pipeline system.

Veolia is also responsible for a booster pump and delivery pipelines, which involve the replacement of the main distribution pump and connecting the new station with minimal disturbance to the current water supply.

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South Africa: Emergency water storage for community

SOUTH AFRICA:

Pictured: The start of the Letsemeng project highlighting the completed ring beam

The Department of Water Affairs and the Letsemeng District Municipality approached SBS Tanks to quote on a 2010 kilolitre tank to provide an urgent water storage solution for the community.

The South-Western Free State community was in urgent need of water supply as their current stock had run short and the community was without water. The project was completed in 12 days.

“I want to thank SBS Tanks for the wonderful cooperation during the time of the installation and being able, under challenging circumstances to complete the installation within the allocated time and budget,” states IE Poöe, municipal manager of Letsemeng.

Established in 1998, based in South Africa, SBSWater Systems is a Level 2 BBBEE business specialising in bulk water storage. SBSis led by the three original shareholders operating from its head office in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal, a regional office in Gauteng and competent distributors throughout South Africa and internationally.  With dedicated and efficient staff, SBS is well positioned to maximise its contribution to the prefabricated water storage industry.

Over 600 successful SBS installations have been completed in Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, the Seychelles and Zambia.

All products, services and systemsboast the Proudly South African accreditation.“This is a great accomplishment for our company and staff.  We are proud to be part of this campaign and encourage every company, small or big, within South Africa to participate,” says DelayneGray, SBS managing sirector.

Our range of SBS Tanks are engineered and manufactured using proven technology and the highest quality materials available, delivering technically superior and competitively priced water storage tanks. Not only are our reservoirs aesthetically pleasing, but each design also complies with the highest standards to withstand a range of extreme conditions.

With the SBS Tank capabilities ranging from 12 kilolitres to 3.3 megalitres, our reservoirs are versatile with a range of standard and special fittings available to meet any engineering or industry requirement.

Installation time can take anything between 1-17 working days depending on the size of the tank.Over 600 installations have been completed to date with about 80 of those taking place in 2012.

Completed first ring with roof trusses installed

Installation of the second ring

Installation of the liner

The completed 2010 kl tank

 

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Zimbabwe: Water Crisis Emblematic of Zanu-PF Misrule

CLEAN and plentiful water provides the foundation for the prosperity of any community for it to survive. Water supply issues should not be a problem for Zimbabwe since we share the Zambezi, Pungwe, Save and Limpopo water basins with neighbouring countries Mozambique, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

However, mere access to water is not sufficient as the lack of potable water poses huge challenges for Zimbabwe.

Polluted water is now the country’s biggest health risk as most of our water resources lack basic protection rendering them vulnerable to pollution from industrial plants and raw sewage.

The current water crisis, among other things, is emblematic of Zanu PF’s failure to govern. Three decades of Zanu PF rule have been characterised by neglect for the country’s basic infrastructure.

Never mind the comatose economy, rampant electricity shortages, potholed roads and uncollected garbage, clean water is the most basic of needs and government has failed to provide that to its citizens, and there are no indications it will do so anytime soon.

Disposal of sewage and waste water poses a major threat.

The treatment capabilities for sewage and waste water remain below expectations in Zimbabwe, especially in Harare. Large amounts of sewage-polluted untreated water are discharged into the city’s water sources every day.

Harare is built on a watershed but ironically the city’s residents have gone for years struggling with water shortages.

Some Mabvuku residents went for more than six years without a drop of water from their taps while parts of Borrowdale close to Hatcliffe have been dry for about 10 years now.

Those lucky enough to get running water are not safe either as the water is so contaminated that it is not uncommon for residents to turn on their taps only to collect a brownish, greenish or yellowish liquid.

Environmentalist and University of Zimbabwe researcher Professor Chris Magadza this week warned polluted drinking water is commonplace in Harare as the city’s water supplies consisted of “50% returned urine”.

It is estimated roughly 80% of raw sewage is discharged into Harare’s water sources. No wonder the city’s residents continue to endure primitive waterborne diseases like cholera, dysentery and typhoid.

If residents in the capital, the seat of government where most of our rulers reside, literally drink purified urine, what are those in smaller towns drinking?

The Ministry of Water Resources says the condition of national water infrastructure has deteriorated rapidly and operating capacity is currently under 40%. But how did we get to this tragic stage?

There has been no long-term planning for provision of clean water, or other basic services for that matter; it is hard to recall the last time government invested in water supply and other essentials.

Plans to draw water from the Zambezi River to supply Bulawayo and intentions to build Kunzwi Dam to provide Harare remain a pie in the sky.

Industries have shut down in Bulawayo as a result of water shortages. Businesses and homes in Harare continue to suffer without water. How does government intend to attract investment when it cannot even guarantee adequate water supplies?

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Eskom faces new power crisis

SOUTH AFRICA:

Eskom again faces power shortages. Within six years the utility will have a 40m tonne coal deficit to meet its annual requirements.

This shortfall is owing to Mpumalanga’s shrinking coal reserves, which need urgent supplementation with coal from the Waterberg area, which has 70bn tonnes of shallow coal reserves lying between Lephalale and the Botswana border.

Every year after 2018 the shortfall will assume greater proportions because of Mpumalanga’s shrinking reserves.

By 2040 only five of the 13 coal-fired power stations in Mpumalanga will still have coal.

Transport costs to Mpumalanga will be between R100 and R200/t, which means the coal will cost 50% to 100% more than the R209 that Eskom is currently paying for coal from those mines mostly close to the power stations. Electricity consumers will ultimately bear these costs.

Railway lines are now hurriedly being built to get the Waterberg coal in Mpumalanga, but the only long-term solution is to build more power stations at Medupi and Matimba in the Waterberg area, where half of the country’s remaining coal resources lie. Last month Eskom asked the 15 owners how much coal they can make available for the Mpumalanga power stations.

Exxaro, the only one of the 15 mineral-right owners producing coal, said it was prepared to provide 2m tonnes a year by 2014 and, by 2018, to increase this to 30m or even 40m tonnes, depending on Eskom’s specifications.

Transnet committed itself to improving the carrying capacity of the railway line to 23m tonnes/year by 2016 and eventually to push this up to 80m to accommodate, inter alia, for coal exports from Botswana.

Owners of the 70bn tonnes of coal in the Bushveld are however frustrated and disillusioned by the delay in providing a legal framework for erecting private, independent power stations while the country pays higher prices because of electricity shortages.

The electricity regulation bill and that on independent system operators, which will remove control of the country’s power grid from Eskom so that independent operators can also use it, has been dragging on for three years.

Construction of private coal-fired power stations cannot start before these matters are finalised. It has become increasingly obvious that independent power generators are the key to the country’s energy problems.

There is also enormous frustration in the mining industry because Eskom is buying electricity back from chrome smelters.

This winter this has brought half of the ferrochrome industry to a standstill and resulted in South Africa surrendering considerable market share to China.

“How can Eskom be proud of us getting through winter without power failures while effectively there has been commercialised load-shedding?” a player in the ferrochrome industry said to Sake24. – sake24

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Zimbabwe: City Can Do Better to Conserve Water

The serious problems faced by Harare City Council in abstracting seriously contaminated raw water and having to treat this adequately to make it safe are not an excuse to deny vast swathes of the city treated water for days on end.

The outbreaks of typhoid and the ever present danger of cholera, require that every household should have a basic supply of safe water for at least part of each day, even if during emergencies that is only for an hour or two.

The well-off do not suffer. They can afford boreholes or large tanks and can afford generators to power water pumps or deliveries of safe water by the growing number of private companies providing this service. But even in Borrowdale there are many families that have to rely totally on municipal water or what they can scrounge from shallow wells or near-by boreholes.

There is also the question of fairness. Why should some people have a 24/7 water supply and others feel fortunate if they get one hour of low-pressure supply in a week? All pay the same rates and are charged the same water charges.

The much maligned, even hated, engineers at Zesa have found a fair way of rationing electricity. Like Harare and most cities with their water supplies, Zesa faces a wide gap between potential demand and available supply of electricity. After some prodding by their regulator they came up with a load-shedding schedule and, this winter, seem to have largely followed it. Just about every household gets electricity for at least half the day, unless there is a fault.

This is not ideal, but at least food in fridges and freezers stays cold, a geyser, if the household is lucky enough to be in a watered suburb, can be heated and at least one hot meal prepared. And the system seems, at long last, to be fair. You do not get some suburbs with power all the time and others with power hardly ever.

Harare City Council needs to follow a similar system. Water supplies are not as easy to turn on and off as power supplies. But we have noticed that when the water engineers apply their minds and are prepared to manually open and close valves on trunk mains, they can give a good supply to a suburb for a few hours and then switch this off. Lower lying houses might get another hour or two of water as the pipes drain, but generally everyone can have something during those few hours, even the people on the hill tops.

Surely the council can formalise this sort of system, work out a fair rationing scheme and order its engineers to implement it. Even a very poor family can afford US$4 to buy a safe 20 litre water container to store enough water for drinking and cooking over a day and can use dirty bath water to fill toilet cisterns.

We note with concern that some households are using treated tap water to irrigate their gardens. There are rules banning hoses for gardens and washing cars. These are not enforced. It can be difficult to catch the cheats. They water at night and hose their cars down behind screens. But if we have to start demanding of people with very green lawns that they prove they did not use municipal water to get this desirable state, then so be it.

As for car washing, people in Botswana and Namibia, where everyone takes water conservation seriously, have learned to dust down their cars and then do a final wash with half a bucket of water. Daily car washes with modern vehicles is not required.

So besides working out an equitable water scheme, giving every home safe water for at least an hour a day at a set time, Harare needs to launch an intensive awareness campaign to stop families wasting water. In the end neighbour pressure can be effective in reducing demand. Again Namibia and Botswana, where 24 water supplies are standard, but demand is far lower than in Zimbabwe, show what can be done when a whole society decides to be taken water conservation seriously.

The city council’s experts have worked out what each person, and each family, really needs in the way of water so that they can live safely and comfortably. It is a lot less than the present average consumption which means many are wasting water. The eternal studies of experts need to be converted into action.

We have been pressing Zesa for some time to switch all households over to pre-paid meters. Harare City Council now needs to look at pre-paid water meters as a medium term strategy to bring demand within the limits of supply and to ensure that all who use water pay for this. Waste will decline dramatically if a household has to rush out every couple of days to buy more “water time”. We have seen this with the lucky minority of Zesa customers who know manage their energy consumption with a pre-paid meter.

And, of course, the Government needs to enforce its own laws about dumping raw sewage in water sources. Zimbabwe has had the technology for more than 30 years to treat sewage right up to almost pure water. The systems have to be maintained and repaired. As cities grow more and more raw water is going to be treated effluent, so it has to be treated to the level where fish can swim and breed in the output of treatment plants; that is a river taking treated effluent must be cleaner downstream of a sewage plant than upstream.

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