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Eskom & SA Government Responsible for Water Crisis

A water crisis is looming in South Africa, communities are at risk of losing access to water, and coal is right in the middle of it, according to a report released by Greenpeace today. This latest briefing is a stark reminder to the SA government to start pushing Eskom to substantially invest in renewable energy.

“The quantity of water available for each person in the world is declining steadily,” the statement says, adding that nowhere is the rate of decline as dramatic as we continue to see in Africa. “Chillingly, the estimates are that South Africa won’t be able to meet its water demand by as early as 2030.”

Still, two new mega coal-fired power stations (Medupi and Kusile) are being built by the national utility, Eskom, and new coal mines are being approved without a clear view of what the water impacts are likely to be, or where the water will come from. The reality is that local communities may well lose their water rights to make way for mines, Greenpeace International says. “Kusile will use 173 times more water than wind power would use per unit of electricity produced, and Eskom gets a guaranteed supply of water, no matter what.” Eskom – the statement says – has no genuine accountability.

What Eskom’s position really means is that new investments in coal are necessary to cater to energy-intensive industries, with massive unaccounted-for water impacts, at the expense of the 12.3 million South Africans without access to electricity. It currently looks like, Greenpeace International warns, agriculture (and essentially food security) and local communities’ access to water “will ultimately be the big loser(s), and energy-intensive industries the big winner(s),” Allafrica.com reports.

Source: allAfrica

In the Western Cape water scarcity is even worse. The City of Cape Town has admitted that Cape Town could be out of water as early as 2016.  The city will have to find ways to reduce demand or find alternative sources of water if it wishes the area to prosper.

An option is that the city starts recycling sewage effluent into potable water, however the cost would spike the rapidly increasing water tariff. Such a treatment facility would most likely persuade homeowners to install greywater and rainwater systems into their home and would avert homeowners from paying double for the water they typically use.

 

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