New Developments | Sustainability | Water Conservation | Rainwater Harvesting | Greywater Systems | Water Tanks | Cape Town
The typical household can save up to 90% of their water bill through a combination of harvesting rainwater, greywater recycling and other water saving technologies.
Cape Town – While natural spring water may provide a source for industrial and commercial uses of water, it may not be suitable for human consumption, a researcher has said.
“Sixteen springs altogether probably produce a nice little bit of water, compared to what the city uses, but getting all 16 springs together at that one point at a convenient place to join the system… ” Dr Jo Barnes, an epidemiologist in the Division of Community Health at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University, told News24.
Barnes said that the springs on Table Mountain in Cape Town may provide water, but the area was environmentally sensitive, and this may not be suitable to capture water.
“It is a very complex matter: If a spring is situated in a conservation area, are you going to throw a huge pipeline trough there?”
According to the City of Cape Town, there are 18 springs in the metro and 98% of current water supply is surface water. The city has proposed a future mix of water supply where surface water made up 70%, ground water 7%, recycling 13%, and desalination 10% of supply.
The demand for potable water is expected to sharply increase over the next decade and this might have serious implications for social cohesion.
“In South Africa, water demand is expected to rise by 52% within the next 30 years while the supply of water is sharply declining. If current trends of leakage from aged and poorly maintained municipal infrastructure and the loss of wetlands persist, this growth in demand will intensify competition for water resources across all sectors of the economy,” said Brand South Africa on the SA info website.
Barnes though, said that water networks are in serious of maintenance and upgrading and an urgent priority is the sanitation system.
“Cape Town’s network is, in quite a number of places, not in good shape.”
Source: News 24
Johannesburg – Gauteng municipalities have collectively lost 480 980 000 kilolitres of water in the 2011/12 financial year, amounting to a staggering R7.84 billion in financial losses.
This is according to Gauteng MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe, who was responding to a question by DA spokesman on local government Fred Nel.
Mekgwe, in her response to the DA’s written questions, confirmed that the province was experiencing heavy water losses, saying it was mainly due to ageing infrastructure.
She provided the DA with the breakdown of water losses across all municipalities, with the Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metropolitan councils found to be the worst offenders.
“Of great concern is the fact that water losses are on the increase, up from 35.9 percent in 2010/11, with the main culprits being the three metros, recording losses as follows in 2011/12: City of Joburg lost 206 020 000 kilolitres; Ekurhuleni 133 250 000; and Tshwane 77 290 000 kilolitres,” Nel said.
The worst losses were experienced by Emfuleni, which lost 42 990 000 kilolitres of its available 82 420 00 kilolitres of water.
A total of 480 980 000 kilolitres of water – the equivalent of 2.5 Hartbeespoort dams or 192 392 Olympic size swimming pools – were lost.
Decaying infrastructure seems to be the culprit in most of South Africa’s water leaks and solving the problem weighs heavy in the pockets of taxpayers. Major losses as reported in the article only affirm the reality that the cost of water, a vital living expense, will be on the increase in the years to come in an attempt to compensate for the revenue losses and essential infrastructure upgrades to our water supply.
Local water saving technologies, including the reuse of greywater and harvesting of rainwater, will play an even greater role in sustaining a reliable fresh water supply to home owners. These technologies not only ensure a emergency water supply but also promise to optimise water use around the home.
SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma and Lesotho Prime Minister Tom Thabane will meet soon to discuss the first phase of the Highlands Water Project in Lesotho, the country’s foreign minister said in Pretoria on Thursday.
But Lesotho’s Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister, Mohlabi Kenneth Tsekoa, declined to disclose the “issues” to be discussed by the two leaders.
According to reports, Lesotho is said to be unhappy with certain provisions of the treaty that established the Highlands Water Project. The mammoth project includes the construction of the Polihali Dam worth more than R8bn to provide water to Gauteng and other provinces in South Africa.
“The 1986 treaty makes South Africa liable for taxes on all expenditure related to the project,” the Mail & Guardian reported in December. “The net effect of the 1999 agreement is that South Africa receives Lesotho’s water tax-free.”
According to the article, South Africa pays between R35m and R45m every month for water from Katse and Mohale dams. “A further difference is that, under the 1986 treaty, the water project belongs to Lesotho and South Africa is no more than a customer,” the report said. “Under the 1999 agreement, the project is jointly owned by the two countries.”
The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction through the website PreventionWeb released an index showing South Africa had areas with a high risk of water stress. Water stress is classified second behind “water scarcity” on the scale of severity, according to the UN.
Corruption was also discovered in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project in 1999, including the bribery of a senior in charge of the project by multinational consortiums, according to US based non-profit organisation, International Rivers.
Mr Tsekoa said he and South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane underscored the need to expedite the implementation of the project. “We brought from Lesotho a commitment from the government that the Lesotho Highlands Water Project phase two implementation is imminent.
“In the next few weeks, the leaders of our two countries … will be meeting to finally deal with whatever outstanding issues.”
Ms Mashabane said power utilities in South Africa and Lesotho were working together to ensure sustainable energy provision in both countries.
Source: BD Live
SOUTH Africa will run dry by 2050 should no action be taken to conserve water, according to Gareth Lloyd-Jones, MD of Ecowize.
He says it is crucial for businesses to introduce elements of strict control through implementations of water saving disciplines, as water will always be a basic necessity.
Rip Wyma, MD at Shared Energy Management, a Johnson Controls partner, agrees, saying the increasing scarcity of water as a resource coupled with escalating costs means that businesses need to become more mindful of water consumption, or else face the consequences of literally pouring money down the drain.
He says as populations have increased and nations have become more industrialised across the globe, water as a resource is becoming increasingly scarce.
“This is a problem across the world, as highlighted in Creamer Media’s Water 2012: A review of South Africa’s water sector, which states that according to estimates by the UN Environmental Programme, “failure to adequately invest in water services and to collect, treat and reuse water efficiently … is exacerbating water shortages in parts of the world and contributing to a situation where global demand for water could outstrip supply within 20 years”.
Says Mr Wyma: “This is a global trend of which South Africa is also a part, with multiple issues surrounding water. First, we have limited natural water supplies, and already import some of our water from the Lesotho highlands.
“As a country we have also experienced huge growth in the past few decades, which is putting strain on our limited water resources. Clean drinking water is a luxury in many parts of the country, and as society becomes more urbanised, demand increases and supply cannot keep up.
“These challenges are compounded by ailing infrastructure, haphazard infrastructure development which has resulted in sewerage finding its way into ground water, and other issues such as mine drainage creating contaminated acid water underground.”
Mr Wyma predicts that water is going to become increasingly expensive over time.
“If organisations continue with wasteful water practices, it will become less and less affordable. The effects are being felt even now, with water in Johannesburg costing up to three times as much as water in Pretoria. The challenge lies in recognising this as a cost that can be reduced and in taking steps to reduce water consumption, eliminate wastage and apply the right type of water to the right situation.”
Mr Lloyd-Jones says more people need to make the effort to recycle water and come up with other innovative ways to save and protect natural water resources.
He says there is a critical need for businesses to realise the magnitude of this crisis, to take responsibility, to make concerted efforts to recycle water and to prevent water wastage often caused by pipe bursts, water leaks and unscheduled use of water.
“Cost-effective water saving disciplines include having a water recycling system in place whereby used water is drained through a filtration process to rid all solids and then put through a chemical intervention to make it suitable to use back into plant facilities.”
Mr Lloyd-Jones says companies should introduce universal benchmarks to set the right amount of water required for jobs, without any wastage.
“This can be achieved via three important variables — the value, the pressure and the temperature of the water. These variables need to be balanced and measured.”
Furthermore, he says to avoid unscheduled use of water, food producers and manufacturers need to introduce strict elements of control that set aside specific times that apparatuses such as hoses can be used. They can also use specially designed couplings that are manufactured to protect the hose against leaks.
Mr Lloyd-Jones says food producers and manufacturers will also be able to save enormous amounts of water by providing staff with water-saving training to enable them to identify the cause of water waste and ways to solve such problems.
Source: BD live
A warning like this should be extended to household too where up to 90% can be saved with the use of water conservation systems. This can be done through augmentation (rainwater harvesting), recycling/reuse systems and other water saving devices.
Chapter 2 of the Constitution under Section 27 gives every South African the right to sufficient water. I suspect that those of us who are fortunate enough to have sufficient access don’t always realize exactly how difficult life can be without it.
Imagine not being able to wash your body, your clothes, your food or cutlery. This, of course, has serious health and other implications. You become more vulnerable to diseases. It becomes difficult to find employment when you and your clothes are dirty, and, you inevitably become trapped in a spiral of poverty.
Access to water is, of course, not the only contributing factor, and access to sufficient food, education as well as opportunities brought about by economic growth, are also major contributors to poverty. (Food security and industrial as well as agricultural development are naturally also closely tied to access to sufficient water.)
Nevertheless it has occurred to me that where water is concerned the working and middle classes are probably more vulnerable than they realise.
South Africa is a water scarce country. However, as much as 37% of our water is lost through leaks. To worsen matters by 2015, 80% of the country’s water resources will apparently be so badly polluted that they could not be made fit for consumption again.
In other words the Constitutional Right to sufficient water may very well be denied even more people.
While the protection of citizens’ Constitutional Rights is mainly the responsibility of government it did, however, occur to me that at least to some extent the protection of the rights it defines dependent on how we, as South African citizens, act.
So, what am I driving at? You and I can help address looming water shortages by doing a couple of simple things – don’t pollute, report polluters, deal with water leaks at your home, report water leaks in areas where municipalities are responsible and manage your own water consumption.
So, it’s quite simple, by making a couple of changes, you and I can ensure that more South Africans (including ourselves) have access to safer water for longer.
Source: News 24
There is a great deal extra that could be said for managing your own water consumption. Not only does doing so afford you the luxury of establishing our own home water quality but also it allows you to optimise your water use through simply recycling and reuse technologies. By harvesting rainwater and reusing greywater the average household could save up to 90% of their water bill.
Water is essential to all life on earth, and in solidarity with the focus on World Water this past month, the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) applauds our municipalities for their continued monitoring of, and attention to, the quality of our drinking water.
South Africa has the distinction of being one of only twelve countries in the world where it is safe to drink our tap water. As at 2012, the good news is that the quality of South African tap water is ranked as third best overall.
South African municipalities have wholeheartedly embraced the international Blue Drop certification programme which is an incentive-based initiative that is used to regulate water services bodies worldwide in order to improve and maintain the quality of tap drinking water. Blue Drop certification covers a multitude of aspects of water management.
Deidre Nxumalo-Freeman, President of the IWMSA says “In South Africa, our constitution dictates that access to safe drinking water is a basic human right. The Department of Water Affairs instituted the Blue Drop programme in 2008 and since then, we have largely seen continuous improvement in the rankings of our municipalities in respect of drinking water quality.
“One source of our water is groundwater, water that collects underground from runoff; we consider it essential that people are aware of how easily our water tables can become contaminated through bad waste management practices. We also need to be vigilant when it comes to maintaining and upgrading the infrastructures that allow us to have a high quality of drinking water.
“The IWMSA is strongly focused on education and training, and has worked effectively with a number of municipal bodies in order to better equip them with an understanding of the importance of effective waste management issues from the ground up. As such we believe in the efficacy of getting a message across, particularly to those working at grass roots level, in order to engender a greater appreciation of the importance of their various functions.
Nxumalo-Freeman concludes “Whilst our local and district municipalities are responsible for ensuring that we have access to safe drinking water, the quality of which must be regularly monitored and measured to see whether it matches up to national drinking water standards; we must all assist in the process and we believe that the IWMSA has an important role to play in creating awareness along with empowerment through information.”
The IWMSA is a non-profit organisation comprising a body of dedicated professionals in their respective fields, who give freely and voluntarily of their time and expertise in order to effectively educate, promote and further the science and practice of waste management.
In 1798, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient Mariner with its famous (and often slightly misquoted) passage: “Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink.” Now 215 years later, the demand for clean, safe water has never been greater, and the lack of it in so many underdeveloped regions has never been as dire a global crisis.
Here are some astounding statistics according to the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the World Bank:
For too many of the world’s people, unsafe water is the thing most likely to make them sick or even kill them. At the same time, the arduous task of searching for, securing and transporting clean water takes a significant emotional and physical toll on millions of people each day. That responsibility usually falls upon women, depriving them of the opportunity to get an education, earn an income, and care for their children.
When I look at the global water crisis purely from a market-driven perspective, I see perhaps the single greatest imbalance of supply and demand that exists in the global marketplace. Demand is universal – after all, water is the one resource that no organism can survive without. We need clean water not only to sustain ourselves, but also for other basic necessities such as farming and sanitation. Yet supply is severely limited; hundreds of millions of people go without local access to clean water on a daily basis.
If through a combination of harvesting rainwater, recycling greywater and use of other water saving technologies you could save as much as 90% of your water demand, would this make a tremendous difference not to mention that you will have your own private water supply to regulate how you want.
Fill out the reqest form on the right for further details.
ALMOST 40% (36.8%) of the total municipal water supplied in South Africa is lost before it reaches municipal customers, from industry to households, according to research released by the Water Research Commission (WRC) on Wednesday.
This means the government loses an estimated R7bn every year because this water loss is not billed. It also means an estimated 1,580-million cubic metres of water is lost each year in a “water-scarce” country.
South Africa has a R2bn-a-year water infrastructure backlog, half the world’s average annual rainfall, had already allocated at least 95% of its available fresh water by 2005. Of the “nonrevenue” water losses, 25.4% were “considered to be losses through physical leakage”, the WRC says in the report.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has set a target to reduce this “nonrevenue water” — water lost before it reaches a customer, through leaks, theft and metering inaccuracies — in municipalities to 15% by next year.
The WRC says this will be achievable only if billions of rand is poured into water demand management across the country.
If this money is not invested, the WRC estimates an “achievable” target of a 25% reduction within 10 years.
The study, The State of Non-Revenue Water in South Africa, is the most comprehensive of its kind to date, with data gathered from 132 municipalities throughout South Africa, representing 75% of the total volume of municipal water supply.
There are eight metropolitan municipalities, 44 district municipalities and 226 local municipalities in South Africa.
The report reveals that South Africa’s water losses, while high in comparison to the developed world and low compared with the developing world, are in tune with the global average of 36.6%.
Municipalities are “in crisis management mode” and the lack of information available from more than half showed these municipalities “are not even aware they have a problem”, says research leader Ronnie McKenzie.
WRC water use and waste management executive manager Jay Bhagwan says 61% of South Africa’s municipalities have poor record keeping (18%), “worthless records” (30%) or no records (13%).
“We have a growing challenge. If it is not dealt with now in a systematic and incremental manner towards improvement, then the consequences will be great and disastrous,” he says.
Mr Bhagwan says these consequences will start when water infrastructure deteriorates to the point that the government is faced with having to replace it instead of repair it and maintain it. Replacement will be “much more expensive”.
Without repair and maintenance, or replacement, the pressure on the government to provide more water to consumers will ratchet up, but South Africa’s water resources were already at their limits, he says.
Although he does not say so, the WRC has already done research that links water shortages to the continuing phenomenon of “public service protest”, and water expert Anthony Turton has repeatedly warned that water shortages will have political consequences, most notably social unrest.
Early this month Business Day reported that water shortages plagued the northern half of the country, from Mafikeng in the North West to Nelspruit in Mpumalanga and Brandfort in the Free State. Experts pinned this on the lack of maintenance.
Department of Water Affairs spokesman Mava Scott says the department is “working closely” with municipalities to “urgently address these challenges”, which include water quality concerns, and the department’s rapid response unit has been dispatched to the affected areas. Progress is being made, Mr Scott says.
“In areas where issues of inadequate infrastructure have been identified, officials are undertaking upgrade and repair work; in others, the recent excessive heat … (has) led to the reservoirs drying up and thus affecting water availability and supply,” he says.
Mr McKenzie says many municipalities lack “even the most basic bulk meter readings”, which means they “do not know they have a problem”.
However, he says it is “reassuring to note” there has been a dedicated effort to provide safe drinking water to outlying areas that have previously not had access to water.
It is this focus on increasing access to water services that experts have blamed for the maintenance crisis. The percentage of the population with access to an improved water supply source has risen from 83% in 1990 to 91% in 2008, but this access is becoming meaningless in a variety of places due to compromised water quality and intermittent supply caused by poor maintenance. Ms Molewa has admitted that up to 25% of people who have access to a tap do not have an “acceptable level” of service.
Mr McKenzie says it is “pleasing to note that large metros and most of the large cities and towns are now monitoring their water use and trying to establish a proper and reliable water balance in line with international recommendations. Progress in this regard is certainly being made.”
The Centre for Environmental Rights, in a blog written for Water Week this week, says “some good news” is that the draft second National Water Resource Strategy “has encouraged networking and co-ordination amongst civil society and community groups … also incorporating detailed comments on water governance and regulation prepared by the Centre for Environmental Rights. Despite lack of planning and logistical challenges, the Department of Water Affairs has, to its credit, been open to engagement from civil society on the (strategy).”
Department spokeswoman Linda Page says the department has consolidated reports from the provinces and “inputs” from public hearings.
The final document is being drafted and is expected to be presented to Ms Molewa by mid-April and to the Cabinet in June.
Source: BD Live
The Institute, who aims to ensure optimal irrigation practises and conservation of water, says that the theme of this year’s South Africa’s Water Week – Water is Life- Respect It, Conserve It, Enjoy it – reminds us fittingly of the value of the resource. However, emphasise SABI, it is also a significant concern that we may be causing damage to this essential age-old element at a rate much faster than what it can heal itself.
Comments SABI President Paul van den Berg: “We should rememer that the water that today gives us life is also the water that gave life to the dinosaurs. Water is one of the oldest sources of life on the planet. It is every person’s duty to use water sparingly and keep pollution of water to an absolute minimum.
“Saving and caring for water starts with the man on the street, and agriculture, mining and industries, of course, all need to clearly and urgently use water with absolute care.”
What is irrigation’s role in water conservation?
Says SABI’s former President Felix Reinders: “Irrigation is an age-old art and in the words of ND Gulhati of India: ‘Irrigation in many countries is an old art – as old as civilization – but for the whole world it is a modern science – the science of survival.”
Comments Reinders: “In order to conserve water resources, close attention must be paid to the performance of irrigation systems. Continued evaluation and maintenance of irrigation systems are imperative to keep the performance on a high level and to optimize water use efficiency.
“The South African Irrigation Institute support water week because Water is Life to all our members, who respect it – and through good technology and management assist to conserve it with the outcome to enjoy it with all South Africans.”
SABI General Manager Riana Lombard notes that 60% of all water is used in agriculture for irrigation, thus the sector has an important role to play in water conservation and care.
“Irrigation makes a significant contribution to development and growth in South Africa. Education and awareness among South Africans as to the importance of water as a scarce and valuable resource needs to increase. With this we must have strict rules to prevent water pollution and pollution that cannot be avoided, must be properly managed.”
Vulnerability and scarcity
Stresses SABI’s technical executive officer Isobel van der Stoep: “What has probably become most clear in the last decade is the vulnerability of the resource in addition to its scarcity – will our present actions come back to haunt us when we find that life is seriously being threatened due to a lack of suitable water sources?”
She concludes: “There is an urgent need for capacity building amongst individuals and organisations to not only develop, but more importantly, implement policy and legislation aimed at establishing and nurturing a culture in which water can be respected, conserved and enjoyed. Such a culture should start in our homes where our children are taught the real value and importance of water.”
SABI’s (South African Irrigation Institute) role is to actively promote and share knowledge to ensure the optimal and efficient use of water in South Africa, for the ongoing growth and sustainability of the socio-economy in South Africa.
The typical house could save up to 30% of their water use by simply reusing greywater from baths, showers and laundry machines.
World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
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