Tag Archives: SA

External content might be used on this page. Please refer to the note at the bottom of this page.

SA must do more to look after water, says WWF

Duncan Alfreds – WWF

Cape Town – South Africans need to do more to conserve water resources as the country will feel the impact of water usage, particularly as climate change and poor management affect supplies of drinking water, an environmental organisation has warned.

“South Africa is going to feel the effects of climate change first through water resources. We have to manage that certainty of supply in new and different ways,” hydrogeologist Christine Colvin, senior manager of fresh water programmes at the WWF SA told News24.

She said that the awareness that water is a scarce is precious resource is growing.

“I think there’s a universal awareness of the scarcity of water and we will see a price and a tariff revision – so it’s not only going to be scarce, it’s going to become more expensive as well,” said Colvin.

Woolworths has been working on its environmental footprint for several years, and company recently began a programme to investigate water losses at its premises.

Environmental sustainability

“By addressing the leaks, we have saved municipal water and R1m in the last financial year alone, from our corporate stores,” the retailer said.

The company views environmental sustainability as a cost saving measure and also installed a solar panel on its Cape Town head office.

“We’ve done a lot of work on energy efficiency over a number of years and that was really the first focus from an environmental and a cost saving initiative,” Justin Smith, Woolworths sustainability manager told News24.

Colvin said that the cost of water would need to be adjusted to account for the maintenance of outdated networks, where, according some reports, up to 40% of water is wasted.

“There’s an assumption that if we charge more for water, people will use it more wisely and more carefully, and we need to test that assumption,” she said.

Woolworths said that 90% of its stores and its distribution centres have been assessed for their compliance with the company’s policies.

The WWF argued that if companies were to face a real threat of criminal prosecution for their environment impact, there would be higher levels of compliance.

Prosecution

“I think idea of prosecuting for wasting, yes, that could definitely make sure that in terms of the management systems that are in place that the risk of losing and having a water leakage would be taken into account and addressed in much more proactive way,” said Colvin.

Mining firm Coal of Africa recently had to pay a R9.2m fine for contravening the National Environmental Management Act (Nema).

Colvin added that all water consumers are impacted by the actions of industry and commercial players who are high water users.

“We need to look at a whole suite of measures like that which will refocus companies’ attention on what are the risks that they face in terms of water and how are they putting others at risk through either their direct water actions or things that they’re doing in terms of downstream users.”

– Follow Duncan on Twitter

Source Article from http://www.news24.com/Green/News/SA-must-do-more-to-look-after-water-says-WWF-20130913

SA must do more to look after water, says WWF
http://www.news24.com/Green/News/SA-must-do-more-to-look-after-water-says-WWF-20130913
http://feeds.24.com/Tagged/News/Topics/water/rss
Articles relating to Topics | water

SA: Rainwater harvest from tanks: can you drink it?

SOUTH AFRICA:

Water collected in rainwater harvesting tanks provided in a low-cost housing project in Kleinmond, Western Cape, does not meet the standards for drinking water, unless treated, according to the findings of a Water Research Commission (WRC) study.

As demand for water grows in South Africa, alternative sources are actively being sought to augment conventional water supply. While domestic rainwater harvesting has been put forward as one such an alternative water supply, little information is available on whether harvested rainwater is safe for human use or even how local communities feel about using the water from such an alternative source. Domestic rainwater harvesting involves the collection and storage of water from rooftops and diverse surfaces.

A team of researchers from the Stellenbosch University (SU) Department of Microbiology and the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology studied the quality of water from a community with rainwater harvesting tanks, and gathered information on how this water is being used. The project was funded by the Water Research Commission.

The study site selected was the Kleinmond Housing Scheme. This innovative low-cost housing project, conceptualised in 2007 in collaboration between the Department of Science & Technology, CSIR, the Western Cape Provincial Department of Human Settlements and the Overstrand Local Municipality, comprises 410 housing units. Various technology innovations have been applied in the houses, including modular masonry material, reinforced ring beams, prefabricated plumbing etc., and each house equipped with a 2 000 l rainwater harvesting tank.

The SU team tested the chemical and microbial quality of rainwater collected from the rainwater tanks of 29 houses over six months. In addition, 68 households were interviewed to investigate the acceptance and perception on the use of the domestic rainwater harvesting tanks.

The results obtained for the chemical analysis indicated that the rainwater quality was within potable, chemical standards. Metals, cations and anions that were analysed for in the harvested rainwater samples were all below the recommended drinking water guidelines.

However, the microbial analysis showed that the presence of the following group of indicator organisms exceeded the recommended drinking water guidelines: total coliforms, Eneterocci, faecal coliforms, and heterotrophic bacteria. The presence of several opportunistic pathogens, including E.coli, Cryptosporidium and Salmonella, were also detected. In short, the water from the rainwater harvesting tanks in Kleinmond is not fit for human consumption, and prior treatment is required before the water source can be used for drinking purposes.

The main causes of contamination are dirt and faeces (from birds and small animals) on the roof surface, which fall into the tank. Other sources of rainwater contamination include leaf debris and organic material washed into the tank, animals or birds that fall into uncovered tanks as well as breeding mosquitoes.

It was found that many of the households placed their garbage bags on top of the tanks to protect them from being ripped open by stray dogs. These garbage bags could easily contaminate the rainwater, especially if the tanks are leaking or broken and/or the lid is absent. This general lack of awareness of contamination hazards highlights the importance of training users in the proper use and maintenance of the technology.

It has been recommended that some form of pre-treatment be installed to make the rainwater safe for drinking. As a follow up to this part of the project, the SU team is now investigating the use of solar water pasteurisation and filtration systems for the treatment of harvested rainwater.

Interestingly, the SU user survey indicated that the majority of community members of the Kleinmond Housing Scheme instinctively steered clear of using the water from their rainwater harvesting tanks for drinking purposes. About two-thirds of the respondents do not use the water in the tank for drinking, while by far the majority of those who use it for drinking do so only sometimes (24%). The majority of respondents who do drink the water pre-treat it first. One mother reported that her baby developed a rash after rainwater was used to bath him, while others said that drinking the water was ‘bad for your stomach’.

The majority of respondents indicated that they use the harvested rainwater for household chores instead, such as laundry, cleaning, and gardening. One respondent was even applying his rainwater to help run his small car wash business.

While not generally using the harvesting rainwater for drinking purposes, almost all users (bar one respondents) saw the tank as being of huge benefit to them, particularly as they now used less municipal water, which put money back into their pockets. In addition, the tanks became a convenient asset during times of municipal water disruption.

According to the WRC Research Manager Dr Nonhlanhla Kalebaila, rainwater tanks are not a ‘fit-and-forget’ technology, and require regular maintenance and upkeep. Unfortunately, most tank users at Kleinmond admitted that they did not know how to maintain their tanks although they did indicate a willingness to learn. Thankfully at the time of data collection, the majority of rainwater tanks were found to be in good condition, with only some tanks showing signs of leakage, missing lids, broken pipes or taps. Most of these faults had been reported to the municipality, which, according to the SU project team, indicates some hesitancy to take ownership of the tanks. A training programme has been recommended to empower users in the proper use and maintenance of the tanks.

“Users need to ensure that their tanks are covered to prevent mosquito breeding, and sunlight from reaching water which promotes algal growth”, further explains Dr Kalebaila. “However, through the incorporation of cartridge filters or other treatments at the point of consumption can ensure better quality of drinking-water and reduces health risks”.

Materials used in the catchment and storage tank should be suitable for use and be non-toxic to humans.  Storages should be fitted with a mechanism such as a tap or outlet pipe that enables hygienic abstraction of water.

Rainwater harveting tank image

A Rainwater harveting tank

Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/rainwater-harvest-from-tanks-can-you-drink-it/
Rainwater harvest from tanks: can you drink it?
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/rainwater-harvest-from-tanks-can-you-drink-it/
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/feed/
Infrastructure news

SA: Too much water as dams overflow in Western Cape?

SOUTH AFRICA:

The Department of Water Affairs (DWA) in the Western Cape Region is calling on residents and people engaged in assortment of activities near dams to be cautious as dams, canals and reservoirs in the province are at full capacity due to the persistent heavy rains.

This is according to a statement released by the Department on Friday 30 August, which added that “he soil in the Western Cape is saturated due to high rainfall and will result in a high runoff which could cause excessive flooding in low areas.”

According to the Department, people who stay within the 1:100 year flood lines are especially advised to be on the alert

The Department met with the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) on Thursday 29 August to discuss the disaster risks associated with the dams in the province. The average capacity of Western Cape dams is currently at 102.35% full.

The risk areas with a high possibility have been identified as:

• Eerster River system (Residential and Agricultural areas in the flood

planes);

• The Lourens River at Somerset-West (low lying residential areas);

• The confluence of the Olifants and Doring Rivers downstream of the

Clanwilliam dam close to Vredendal (Residential and Agricultural areas in

the flood planes);

• Kingna and Keisies River (Montagu and surrounding areas);

• Berg River at the Paarl downstream of Berg River dam (Residential area

in the flood plane of the river); and

• Wolwedans dam (Mitigation measures are to breach the Great Brak Estuary.

“The Region is currently on alert and closely observing the specific areas of concern. The level of the dams is also under constant monitoring by means of real time monitoring systems,” reported the Department, withthe Berg River at Paarl experiencing a localised flooding which affected nearby informal settlements at the time of the statement.

“Members of the public are also reminded to contact our call centre on 0800 200

200 for reporting any water related emergencies and concerns.”

Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/too-much-water-as-dams-overflow/
Too much water as dams overflow?
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/too-much-water-as-dams-overflow/
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/feed/
Infrastructure news

SA: Water Minister condemns “sex for water”

Posted on 04 September 2013. 

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, last week came out strongly against the abuse of positions of power to solicit sexual favours from women in exchange for water. “Tough action will be taken against them,” warned Molewa.

Molewa’s statement came in light of a recent article in the Sowetan newspaper (28 August) which claimed a councillor in Limpopo was demanding sex from poor women in Makhaduthamaga Local Municipality in Jane Furse in exchange for connection to water services.

“I am deeply disturbed by these allegations and wish to express my disgust that 19 years into our democracy women are subjected to such indignity,” said Molewa, adding that while the councillor in question has not been found guilty, the Department of Water Affairs is encouraged by the investigation into the allegations that is currently underway.

According to the official statement released by the Department of Water Affairs on the 28 August, Molewa will be engaging the Makhaduthamaga Local Municipality with a view to establishing the facts around the matter, in order to ensure appropriate steps are taken. The statement also established the fact that the minister had contacted the municipality to ensure the safety and well-being of the women who had come forward and to prevent victimisation and reprisals from the alleged culprit against them.

“As National Women’s Month draws to a close, I urge all women to come forward and report abuse of this nature to the authorities. Anyone who is found guilty of such behaviour must be dealt with harshly,” concluded Molewa.

Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/minister-condemns-sex-for-water/
Minister condemns “sex for water”
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/09/04/minister-condemns-sex-for-water/
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/feed/
Infrastructure news

Danger stalks SA dams

Cape Town – The pollution in South African river systems is an indicator of a looming water crisis if it is not managed correctly, an environmental researcher has asserted.
“A large proportion of our dams are what is known as eutrophic – that means that there’s too much algae that is starting to live in the water because of nutrient like phosphate,” hydrogeologist Christine Colvin, senior manager of fresh water programmes at the WWF SA told News24.

She warned that the release of toxins into drinking water in dams presented a risk to all water consumers.

“Those algae bloom and then they die, and when they die, they release toxins – cytotoxins – into the water.”

According to her research, the most common pollutant in South African river systems was phosphate.

Natural means

“The most widespread pollutant in our rivers is phosphate and that’s something that comes off agricultural land. It’s released from the soil and it’s used in fertilizers.

“Work that I saw published about two years ago said that 80% of our rivers were exceeding the phosphate levels,” said Colvin.

Phosphate also occurs naturally and could end up river systems by natural means.

Colvin conceded that natural phosphate could naturally enter river systems, but said that the amounts of natural phosphate were usually very low and larger amounts could directly attributed to pollution.

“The natural phosphate levels are incredibly low so you can just have one poorly managed farm or one faulty wastewater treatment plant way up in river system and it’s going to end up polluting that entire ecosystem,” she said.

As a nutrient, the phosphate has a measurable impact on the river ecosystem which feeds the dams.

“Phosphate is a nutrient that then shifts the whole ecosystem of that river system, so you can start getting algal blooms; the indigenous and natural fish and vegetation that should be living in the river system are ‘out-competed’ and you have a whole new ecosystem that develops in that river,” Colvin explained.

Research funding

According to the Water Research Commission (WRC), about a third of South African dams face eutrofication which occurs when high levels of pollutant in water bodies result in excessive plant growth.

The Water Wheel report of 2008 found that 35% of SA dams are impaired by the process of eutrofication, higher than the continental average of 28%.

Dams in Europe have a rate of 53% while those in North America are at 48%.

The WRC report said that SA had fallen from its status as a leader in the field of eutrophication study. This was due, in part, to a termination of funding for the research, the organisation found.

“Many of the researchers involved in early eutrophication research have since moved into better research fields, into consultation or have emigrated. As a result, appropriate management strategies directed against eutrophication have been seriously constrained by a widespread lack of understanding of the problem, particularly at the decision-making level.”

– Follow Duncan on Twitter

 

Source Article from http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Danger-stalks-SA-dams-20130827
Danger stalks SA dams
http://www.news24.com/Green/News/Danger-stalks-SA-dams-20130827
http://feeds.24.com/Tagged/News/Topics/water/rss
Articles relating to Topics | water

SA: The issue of service delivery

SOUTH AFRICA:

Most South Africans have better access to housing, water, electricity and food but are less satisfied about the quality of public services they receive than they used to be. This statement results from this year’s General Household.The survey findings, which are based on face-to-face surveys with more than 25 000 households, could help explain why while government service delivery indicators are improving, public dissatisfaction in the form of protests and strikes is also on the rise.The results were recently presented by Statistics South Africa deputy director-general Kefiloe Masiteng. The General Household Survey has been performed since 2002 to measure the performance of programmes that aim to enhance the development and living conditions of people. In recent years, it has started to track levels of satisfaction with the quality of services. According to the survey more than 16% of people living in “RDP houses” complained about the quality, stating their houses had weak roofs and walls.The survey also indicates that access to piped water also improved, from 84.9% of households to 90.8% last year. But people have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of water. When this question was first asked in 2005, 76.4% of households said they were satisfied while only 60.1% rated the quality good last year.
Only 57.3% of people canvassed who used public health facilities stated they were “very satisfied”, with 12.8% expressing some or a lot of dissatisfaction.

Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/08/27/the-issue-of-service-delivery/
The issue of service delivery
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/08/27/the-issue-of-service-delivery/
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/feed/
Infrastructure news

Strong planning urged as SA begins to come to terms with its water scarcity

© Reuse this

Updated 1 hour 59 minutes ago
It is common cause that South Africa is facing various challenges with regard to its water resources and the manage- ment thereof. It is also well recognised that South Africa needs to intensify its efforts to protect its already limited water resources and materially improve the efficiency of water use.

But the development of new and, as critically, the maintenance of existing water and wastewater infrastructure is also a priority – one reflected in the fact that the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has included water and sanitation among its 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects, or Sips.

In fact, Sip 18 aims to ensure a sustainable supply of water to meet social needs and support economic growth, as well as a comprehensive sanitation service that enhances community wellbeing, reduces healthcare costs and improves productivity.

This cluster of projects is part of a ten-year plan intended to address current backlogs by providing water for 1.4-million households and sanitation for 2.1-million households.

But Sip 18 has been unveiled in a context where more than half of South Africa’s wastewater-treatment works are in dire need of maintenance and repair.

In addition, there is a need to improve arrangements with respect to national entities, catchment management agencies and water boards are proposed for the water institutions responsible for infrastructure, with a replacement value of about R968-billion.

Overall, the desire of the infrastructure push is to ensure that citizens have access to clean, potable water and hygienic sanitation, and that there is also enough water to meet the needs of agriculture and industry.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said at the release of the second edition of the Department of Water Affairs’ (DWA’s) National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS-2) in June, that nine major water resource infrastructure projects were currently in progress, some of which were nearing completion.

“The department is finalising the infrastructure planning to develop, update and maintain water reconciliation strategies for all water resource systems and towns under water-supply stress. These plans include projects at Mbombela, in Mpumalanga; on the Orange river; at Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN); and in Luvuvhu-Letaba, in Limpopo,” she said.

The NWRS-2 also indicates that strategic actions are planned in the form of rehabilitating water infrastructure, developing and managing groundwater harvesting strategies, water reuse, desalinating seawater, dealing with acid mine drainage, rainwater harvesting and hydroelectric generation.

 

CURRENT PROJECTS
Several major water infrastructure projects are already in the process of either being implemented or planned.

 

The De Hoop dam, which is being constructed in Limpopo province as part of the second phase of the Olifants River Water Resources Development Project, will be a bulk storage facility to augment the current water supply around the Steelpoort and Olifants rivers. It also involves the laying of major pipelines to deliver water from the dam to the mining industry in the Steelpoort area.

It is a R4.5-billion project and is scheduled for completion by the end of next year. The dam will be the thirteenth-largest in the country and is expected to have a 347-million-cubic-metre reservoir capacity.

This phase of the project will result in connecting the water-treatment works at Steelpoort with the De Hoop dam. The pipeline to Sekuruwe, in the Waterberg area, and to Pruissen, in the Capricorn area of Limpopo, is also planned to start this year.

The Mokolo-Crocodile water augmentation project, meanwhile, involves the construction of several large pump-stations, more than 170 km of pipeline and an abstraction works, all of which require the creation of significant supplementary infrastructure. Phase 1 entails the construction of a new pumpstation at the existing Mokolo dam and a 43 km pipeline of up to 1 100 mm in diameter to deliver about 30-million cubic metres of bulk water a year from the Mokolo dam.

The Phase 1 infrastructure will be constructed parallel to and tie in with existing infrastructure, supplying water to Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine, Eskom’s Matimba and Medupi power stations and the Lephalale local municipality, in Limpopo.

The project to raise the Hazelmere dam wall, on the Mdloti river, in KZN, includes the installation of gates on the dam’s spillway and the stabilisation of the wall at a cost of R359-million. The project also requires the upgrading of Umgeni Water’s Hazelmere water treatment plant (WTP) and the pumpstation pumping water into the distribution network. The water from the WTP is pumped through a 20-km-long, 700-mm-diameter pipeline into a distribution reservoir, 93 m above the pumpstation. The project is due to start in October.

The Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme Phase 2 involves the construction of the Spring Grove dam and the associated transfer system, in Rosetta, on the Mooi river, in the KZN Midlands, and a conveyance system to transfer water to the Mgeni river catchment.

Once constructed, the new system will augment the current yield of the Mgeni system by an additional 60-million cubic metres of water a year, address water delivery backlogs and improve the security of supply in the region. The Spring Grove dam is expected to increase the yield of the Mgeni system from 334-million cubic metres to 394-million cubic metres a year. The dam will be about 42 m high, with a gross storage capacity of 142.5-million cubic metres.

Plans for the raising of the Clanwilliam dam, in the Western Cape, are also said to be at an advanced stage and construction for raising the dam wall should start early next year.

The raising of the Tzaneen dam by three metres to increase its storage capacity from 158-million cubic metres to 203-million cubic metres and the construction of the Nwamitwa dam, both on the Groot Letaba river, in Limpopo, form part of the greater Groot Letaba Water Development Project.

In addition, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase 2 – which involves building the Polihali dam, in Lesotho, is being prepared for implementation by the governments of South Africa and Lesotho through the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Molewa indicates that the project is being prioritised by the DWA and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority for completion in 2020. The LHWP is a water supply project with a hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, primarily to secure a water supply to South Africa.

Also being given high-level attention is the proposed development of a major storage dam in the Mzimvubu river catchment, in the Eastern Cape. Planning for the dam is believed to be well advanced, with the objective being to prepare for a substantial increase in investment in irrigation infrastructure in Makatini Flats and the Mzimvubu river basin.

BEYOND INFRASTRUCTURE

At the launch of the NWRS-2, Molewa stressed that, besides the PICC infrastructure focus, emphasis is also being given to supporting the measuring of water demand and pressure management, as well as to tackling water leaks and raising water demand awareness.

The strategy recognises that the challenges of water supply include environmental degradation, resource pollution and inefficient water use.

It also underlines the vital role of water resources in economic growth and social development.

The NWRS-2 Implementation Plan, therefore, proposes that resource protection, infrastructure planning, operation and maintenance, as well as compliance monitoring and enforcement be pursued simultaneously.

It also proposes the development of a collective, detailed implementation plan, in consultation with sector partners, to clearly identify roles and stipulate measures to monitor progress.

WATER REUSE STRATEGY

The DWA will address water reuse by developing practical guidelines for water reuse projects and by working with other national departments to align legislation to reduce regulatory burdens and obstacles.

The department states in the strategy that it will act as the lead regulatory authority and will work with municipalities to ensure that municipal by-laws support the appropriate reuse of water. Legislation will then be revised to accommodate the need to facilitate, streamline, encourage and control water reuse projects.

The water reuse strategy states that the department will also encourage the Water Research Commission to make water-reuse technology development a key focus area and encourage the development of centres of excellence at selected universities.

Further, Molewa explains that the strict enforcement of discharge standards and addressing the management and performance failures of municipal wastewater treatment plans is critical to the future of indirect water reuse.

SANITATION

Sip 18’s aim is also to address the backlog of providing adequate basic sanitation for about 2.1-million households. This element rests primarily with the Department of Human Settlements (DHS), which has not yet finalised specific projects to address the Sip 18 sanitation goals.

Research conducted by a sanitation task team, which reported last year, reinforced the principles outlined in the White Paper on Basic Household Sanitation of 2001.

These principles include that sanitation improvements be demand-responsive and supported by a health and hygiene programme. That the communities are involved in the decisions that are made regarding sanitation in their areas and there is integrated planning and development with regard to the health, social and environmental benefits of improved sanitation.

Further, the task team’s findings highlighted that municipalities are the only sphere of government that have sanitation implementation budgets; however, some municipalities do not prioritise sanitation, hence, service delivery protests.

Sanitation provision is cofunded by municipal infrastructure grants, municipal generated revenue, provincial infrastructure grants, the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme and the Urban Settlement Development Grant. Some municipalities have failed in providing basic sanitation because of budgetary or environmental constraints related to accelerating the eradication of using bucket toilets in urban areas.

The study also found that combining of the water and sanitation budget results in the disruption and prioritisation of expenditure on water and not the provision of sanitation.

What is obvious from the work carried out in the areas of water and sanitation is that greater attention needs to be given to delivery in both areas.

As the National Development Plan notes, greater attention has to be given to the issues, while taking account of the reality that South Africa is a water-scarce country – it ranks 148 out of 180 countries in terms of water availability per capita, according to the 2012 World Water Development Report.

Much of the remedy appears to lie in effective planning and management, without which scarcity could escalate into crisis.

© Reuse this

Source Article from http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/strong-planning-and-management-urged-as-sa-begins-to-come-to-terms-with-its-water-scarcity-2013-08-23-1
Strong planning urged as SA begins to come to terms with its water scarcity
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/strong-planning-and-management-urged-as-sa-begins-to-come-to-terms-with-its-water-scarcity-2013-08-23-1
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/page/water/feed
Engineering News 2013 | Water
Detailed news on water sector.

Strong planning and management urged as SA begins to come to terms with its water scarcity

© Reuse this

Updated 4 hours ago
It is common cause that South Africa is facing various challenges with regard to its water resources and the manage- ment thereof. It is also well recognised that South Africa needs to intensify its efforts to protect its already limited water resources and materially improve the efficiency of water use.

But the development of new and, as critically, the maintenance of existing water and wastewater infrastructure is also a priority – one reflected in the fact that the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) has included water and sanitation among its 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects, or Sips.

In fact, Sip 18 aims to ensure a sustain- able supply of water to meet social needs and support economic growth, as well as a comprehensive sanitation service that enhances community wellbeing, reduces healthcare costs and improves productivity.

This cluster of projects is part of a ten- year plan intended to address current backlogs by providing water for 1.4-million households and sanitation for 2.1-million households.

But Sip 18 has been unveiled in a context where more than half of South Africa’s wastewater-treatment works are in dire need of maintenance and repair.

In addition, there is a need to improve arrangements with respect to national entities, catchment management agencies and water boards are proposed for the water institutions responsible for infrastructure, with a replacement value of about R968-billion.

Overall, the desire of the infrastructure push is to ensure that citizens have access to clean, potable water and hygienic sani- tation, and that there is also enough water to meet the needs of agriculture and industry.

Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said at the release of the second edition of the Department of Water Affairs’ (DWA’s) National Water Resource Strategy (NWRS-2) in June, that nine major water resource infrastructure projects were currently in progress, some of which were nearing completion.

“The department is finalising the infra- structure planning to develop, update and maintain water reconciliation strate- gies for all water resource systems and towns under water-supply stress. These plans include projects at Mbombela, in Mpumalanga; on the Orange river; at Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN); and in Luvuvhu-Letaba, in Limpopo,” she said.

The NWRS-2 also indicates that strategic actions are planned in the form of rehabilitating water infrastructure, developing and managing groundwater harvesting strategies, water reuse, desalinating seawater, dealing with acid mine drainage, rainwater harvesting and hydroelectric generation.

Current Projects
Several major water infrastructure projects are already in the process of either being implemented or planned.

The De Hoop dam, which is being constructed in Limpopo province as part of the second phase of the Olifants River Water Resources Development Project, will be a bulk storage facility to augment the current water supply around the Steelpoort and Olifants rivers. It also involves the laying of major pipelines to deliver water from the dam to the mining industry in the Steelpoort area.

It is a R4.5-billion project and is scheduled for completion by the end of next year. The dam will be the thirteenth-largest in the country and is expected to have a 347-million-cubic-metre reservoir capacity.

This phase of the project will result in connecting the water-treatment works at Steelpoort with the De Hoop dam. The pipeline to Sekuruwe, in the Waterberg area, and to Pruissen, in the Capricorn area of Limpopo, is also planned to start this year.

The Mokolo-Crocodile water augmentation project, meanwhile, involves the construction of several large pump- stations, more than 170 km of pipeline and an abstraction works, all of which require the creation of significant supplementary infrastructure. Phase 1 entails the construction of a new pumpstation at the existing Mokolo dam and a 43 km pipeline of up to 1 100 mm in diameter to deliver about 30-million cubic metres of bulk water a year from the Mokolo dam.

The Phase 1 infrastructure will be constructed parallel to and tie in with existing infrastructure, supplying water to Exxaro’s Grootegeluk mine, Eskom’s Matimba and Medupi power stations and the Lephalale local municipality, in Limpopo.

The project to raise the Hazelmere dam wall, on the Mdloti river, in KZN, includes the installation of gates on the dam’s spillway and the stabilisation of the wall at a cost of R359-million. The project also requires the upgrading of Umgeni Water’s Hazelmere water treatment plant (WTP) and the pumpstation pumping water into the distribution network. The water from the WTP is pumped through a 20-km-long, 700-mm-diameter pipeline into a distribution reservoir, 93 m above the pumpstation. The project is due to start in October.

The Mooi-Mgeni Transfer Scheme Phase 2 involves the construction of the Spring Grove dam and the associated trans- fer system, in Rosetta, on the Mooi river, in the KZN Midlands, and a conveyance system to transfer water to the Mgeni river catchment.

Once constructed, the new system will augment the current yield of the Mgeni system by an additional 60-million cubic metres of water a year, address water delivery backlogs and improve the security of supply in the region. The Spring Grove dam is expected to increase the yield of the Mgeni system from 334-million cubic metres to 394-million cubic metres a year. The dam will be about 42 m high, with a gross storage capacity of 142.5-million cubic metres.

Plans for the raising of the Clanwilliam dam, in the Western Cape, are also said to be at an advanced stage and construction for raising the dam wall should start early next year.

The raising of the Tzaneen dam by three metres to increase its storage capacity from 158-million cubic metres to 203-million cubic metres and the construction of the Nwamitwa dam, both on the Groot Letaba river, in Limpopo, form part of the greater Groot Letaba Water Development Project.

In addition, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) Phase 2 – which involves building the Polihali dam, in Lesotho, is being prepared for implementation by the governments of South Africa and Lesotho through the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority.

Molewa indicates that the project is being prioritised by the DWA and the Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority for completion in 2020. The LHWP is a water supply project with a hydropower component, developed in partnership between the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, primarily to secure a water supply to South Africa.

Also being given high-level attention is the proposed development of a major storage dam in the Mzimvubu river catchment, in the Eastern Cape. Planning for the dam is believed to be well advanced, with the objective being to prepare for a substantial increase in investment in irrigation infrastructure in Makatini Flats and the Mzimvubu river basin.

Beyond Infrastructure
At the launch of the NWRS-2, Molewa stressed that, besides the PICC infrastructure focus, emphasis is also being given to supporting the measuring of water demand and pressure management, as well as to tackling water leaks and raising water demand awareness.

The strategy recognises that the challenges of water supply include environmental degradation, resource pollution and inefficient water use.

It also underlines the vital role of water resources in economic growth and social development.

The NWRS-2 Implementation Plan, therefore, proposes that resource protection, infrastructure planning, operation and maintenance, as well as compliance monitoring and enforcement be pursued simultaneously.

It also proposes the development of a collective, detailed implementation plan, in consultation with sector partners, to clearly identify roles and stipulate measures to monitor progress.

Water Reuse Strategy
The DWA will address water reuse by developing practical guidelines for water reuse projects and by working with other national departments to align legislation to reduce regulatory burdens and obstacles.

The department states in the strategy that it will act as the lead regulatory authority and will work with municipalities to ensure that municipal by-laws support the appropriate reuse of water. Legislation will then be revised to accommodate the need to facilitate, streamline, encourage and control water reuse projects.

The water reuse strategy states that the department will also encourage the Water Research Commission to make water-reuse technology development a key focus area and encourage the development of centres of excellence at selected universities.

Further, Molewa explains that the strict enforcement of discharge standards and addressing the management and performance failures of municipal wastewater treatment plans is critical to the future of indirect water reuse.

Sanitation
Sip 18’s aim is also to address the backlog of providing adequate basic sanitation for about 2.1-million households. This element rests primarily with the Department of Human Settlements (DHS), which has not yet finalised specific projects to address the Sip 18 sanitation goals.

Research conducted by a sanitation task team, which reported last year, reinforced the principles outlined in the White Paper on Basic Household Sanitation of 2001.

These principles include that sanitation improvements be demand-responsive and supported by a health and hygiene programme. That the communities are involved in the decisions that are made regarding sanitation in their areas and there is integrated planning and development with regard to the health, social and environmental benefits of improved sanitation.

Further, the task team’s findings high- lighted that municipalities are the only sphere of government that have sanitation implementation budgets; however, some munici- palities do not prioritise sanitation, hence, service delivery protests.

Sanitation provision is cofunded by municipal infrastructure grants, municipal generated revenue, provincial infrastructure grants, the Rural Household Infrastructure Programme and the Urban Settlement Development Grant. Some municipalities have failed in providing basic sanitation because of budgetary or environmental constraints related to accelerating the eradication of using bucket toilets in urban areas.

The study also found that combining of the water and sanitation budget results in the disruption and prioritisation of expenditure on water and not the provision of sanitation.

What is obvious from the work carried out in the areas of water and sanitation is that greater attention needs to be given to delivery in both areas.

As the National Development Plan notes, greater attention has to be given to the issues, while taking account of the reality that South Africa is a water-scarce country – it ranks 148 out of 180 countries in terms of water availability per capita, according to the 2012 World Water Development Report.

Much of the remedy appears to lie in effective planning and management, without which scarcity could escalate into crisis.

© Reuse this

Source Article from http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/strong-planning-and-management-urged-as-sa-begins-to-come-to-terms-with-its-water-scarcity-2013-08-23
Strong planning and management urged as SA begins to come to terms with its water scarcity
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/strong-planning-and-management-urged-as-sa-begins-to-come-to-terms-with-its-water-scarcity-2013-08-23
http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/page/water/feed
Engineering News 2013 | Water
Detailed news on water sector.

SA: Western Aqueduct back on track

SOUTH AFRICA:

The entire 55 km second phase of the much needed Western Aqueduct begins at Inchanga Station and ends at Ntuzuma, and includes two branch pipelines to Tshelimnyama and Mount Moriah. It is expected to significantly strengthen the capacity of bulk water supply to the western regions of eThekwini, injecting up to 400 Mℓ/d. At the same time, it will ultimately boost much needed water supplies to the north of Durban.

The head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS), Neil Macleod, says EWS has unbundled the 55 km pipeline project into six individual projects that will be rolled out over a seven-year period. It was initially intended to be constructed as a single, large contract but has been dogged by delays.

The second sector, covering the stretch between Alverstone Neck and Ashley Drive in Kloof and worth a similar value, has been released for tendering purposes.

The eThekwini Municipality called for expressions of interest last year and 16 contractors were selected for two different panels – one comprising companies qualified to deal with large diameter pipes and  the other capable of working with pipes of a smaller diameter. Cycad Pipelines won this tender on a competitive bid against the other pre-qualified contractors in the large diameter pipe category. The rest of the contracts will be competitively tendered between the pre-qualified contractors making up the two panels.

“Further delays to this project will have detrimental consequences for Durban as current water supply infrastructure is unable to cope with the forecast future water demand. In addition to large commercial and industrial projects on the drawing board, the city’s population is expected to increase by at least 20% by 2030,” Macleod warns.

Commissioned in June 2011, the first phase of the Western Aqueduct covered 19 km from Umlaas Road to Inchanga Station. Lessons learnt from that project will further refine the environmental rehabilitation for the second phase, he states.

Source Article from http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/08/16/western-aqueduct-back-on-track-2/
Western Aqueduct back on track
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/2013/08/16/western-aqueduct-back-on-track-2/
http://www.infrastructurene.ws/feed/
Infrastructure news

SA: Trust Saving an Overburdened River

South Africa’s 232-kilometre Umgeni River is clean upstream but the closer it gets to the sea, the dirtier it becomes. Credit: Brendon Bosworth/IPS

South Africa’s 232-kilometre Umgeni River is clean upstream but the closer it gets to the sea, the dirtier it becomes. Credit: Brendon Bosworth/IPS

HOWICK, South Africa , Aug 14 2013 (IPS) – Over the course of a 28-day trek down South Africa’s Umgeni River, which flows from the pristine wetlands of the Umgeni Vlei Nature Reserve to the Durban coastline, Penny Rees, a coordinator for the Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust, witnessed the polar opposites of river health.

The trust is a nonprofit organisation that works to conserve the Umgeni and its tributary, the Msunduzi river. At the Umgeni River’s source the water ran clean and was good enough to drink for Rees, and the four volunteers who joined her in walking the length of the 232-kilometre river and documenting its health. Further downstream, after the river had wound past agricultural land and urban terrain, the water became sludgy and smelly.

“Sometimes you can smell it, like [we could] in Durban the last time we crossed the river,” Rees told IPS during an interview at her home in Howick, 97 kilometres north of the port city Durban. “You get to know the colour of the water – [it has] this grey, grungy look, and it stinks of sewage.”

The Umgeni River supplies drinking water to more than five million people, and is the main source of water for the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg town 66 kilometres from the coast. Rees’s sojourn further highlights the work of scientists who have pinpointed pollution problems in the river.

Ongoing sewage sagas

Like other rivers in South Africa, the Umgeni is under pressure from untreated sewage entering it. Poor infrastructure and surcharging sewers in places like Mpophomeni, a low-cost housing settlement upstream of Midmar Dam, have led to high levels of E. coli and nutrients flowing into the dam, Simon Bruton, a hydrologist with environmental consulting firm GroundTruth, told IPS. Midmar Dam is a large dam with a capacity of 235 million cubic metres of water on the outskirts of Pietermaritzburg.

While Mpophomeni accounts for just 2.4 percent of Midmar Dam’s catchment area, it produces about half of the E. coli and 15 percent of the phosphorous entering the dam, according to a 2009 study by GroundTruth.

Projections indicate that the sewage pollution entering the Umgeni River, combined with nutrients from run-off from dairy, pig and poultry farms, could lead to Midmar and the nearby Albert Falls Dam becoming “eutrophic” – rich in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous that promote algal growth – by 2019.

When dams enter this nutrient-rich state, algae grows in them.

“A lot of the algae that blooms can be toxic to human contact so you wouldn’t be able to use the water for recreational purposes any more,” said Bruton. “The other problem it creates is that it significantly pushes up the water treatment costs because that biomass of algae causes problems for water purification, and it’s quite costly to remove.”

Overburdened wastewater works

Wastewater treatment plants that empty treated effluent into the river are also oversubscribed, adding to contamination issues. At four of the plants operated by state-owned company Umgeni Water, compliance rates for the quality of treated water pumped into the river dropped to 71.6 percent in June 2013, according to an Umgeni Water audit report. A compliance rate of 95 percent is considered acceptable.

The overall lack of compliance was chiefly due to problems at the Darvill plant, which treats industrial and domestic wastewater from the city of Pietermaritzburg.

The Darvill plant is overloaded, Shami Harichunder, corporate stakeholder manager for Umgeni Water, told IPS. The company has put out a tender valued at millions of dollars to increase the plant’s capacity by over 50 percent, and has spent about 500,000 dollars on additional aeration facilities, which are soon to be commissioned, he said.

Companies that pump industrial effluent to the plant, and fail to meet their permit obligations for the quality of effluent they discharge, also “significantly” affect the plant’s ability to process wastewater, Harichunder said.

However, compliance at the Howick plant, which is running near to full capacity, was at 90 percent for June 2013.

Downstream pollution

Earlier this year, the Umgeni River made headlines as “one of (the) dirtiest” rivers in South Africa, based on the release of a study for South Africa’s Water Research Commission. The study analysed levels of viral and bacterial contaminants in the section of the river that stretches from Inanda Dam, close to Hillcrest, to the river mouth in Durban.

The researchers found bacteria, including salmonella and shigella, as well as viruses, such as Hepatitis B, in every sample they took.

Many of the bacteria and viruses found in the samples are potentially pathogenic to humans and have demonstrated the ability to kill human tissue cultures, one of the study’s authors Johnson Lin, who is based at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, told IPS.

The river water failed to meet the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry’s water quality guidelines for recreational and drinking use. The results “would raise concerns for people who may consume water directly from the river without any form of treatment,” the researchers concluded.

Lin points to outbreaks of diarrhoea as a potential risk to those who drink contaminated river water. And the paper highlights that in South Africa, 2.6 percent of all deaths are attributable to unsafe water supplies, and inadequate sanitation facilities and hygiene.

River shows its strength

During their month-long sojourn, Rees and her team documented other negative impacts on the important river. They saw the detrimental effects of sand mining operations, illegal dumping of trash on the river’s banks, along with the proliferation of invasive aquatic plants that thrive in high nutrient conditions created from agricultural run-off and sewage contamination.

Despite this, Rees was struck by the fact that, based on the water sampling the team did, water quality could once again improve in sections of the river that were not impacted by human activity for long stretches.

“The miracle is that if you give [the river] a long enough gap without any impact, the water returns to top quality,” she said.

With that in mind, Rees is advocating designation of untouched buffer zones between major contamination points along the river. “You’re always going to have a spill from a wastewater works, sooner or later,” she said. “At least then you know that if there’s a problem you need x-number of kilometres where there is no impact and the river will [be] clean.”

Source Article from http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/saving-an-overburdened-river/
Saving an Overburdened River
http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/08/saving-an-overburdened-river/
http://www.ipsnews.net/rss/sawater.xml
Inter Press Service » The Southern Africa Water Wire – IPS Inter Press Service News Agency Journalism and Communication for Global Change
Journalism and Communication for Global Change



Note that external content is often used in creating news articles on this site. If you want to use the content, please ensure that the relevant source is referenced, as indicated at the end of the article.
Also note that, although we source high-quality content, we cannot verify or be held accountable for the accuracy of external media content. News articles also do not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of the NEPAD Water Centres of Excellence Network