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Growing concerns over water crisis

There never seems to be an easy answer to the South African fresh water crisis. However this is still no excuse for things to take longer than they should. This is especially true with when it comes to the acid mine water rising everyday. How will mining areas survive once the ground water level is completely contaminated by pollution? Will household and industry start harvesting rainwater to secure a clean fresh water supply?

A looming water crisis and regulatory red tape add significant risks to South Africa’s mining industry, according to Anthony Turton, director at Touchstone Resources.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Mine Water 2010 conference, Turton said regulatory changes in water licencing had created ‘bureaucratic backlogs’, while high costs to treat contaminated water was reducing profitability.

Water licensing is a mechanism created in the National Water Act to allow the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) to review all water used in a catchment and, if necessary, to change how water is shared out. In terms of the Act, anyone who wants to use large amounts of raw water from rivers or dams or boreholes might need a water licence.

Turton said the DWAF did not have the human capacity to process water licences fast enough. Companies, including miners, are required to update their water licences every five years and they have to abide by certain technical specifications.

Souce: IOL

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