R7bn in water is lost each year in SA

Many dams are at satisfactory levels,although North West,Limpopo and Mpumalanga still face challenges.

South Africa,a water-scarce country,racks up R7 billion in water losses annually,according to Water and Sanitation Minister Nomvula Mokonyane.

Mokonyane was addressing the Western Cape Water Indaba,held in Goudini Spa in Rawsonville yesterday.  She said the study was done by the University of Stellenbosch and commissioned by the Water Research Commission in 2012.

“It is,therefore,of vital importance for government and communities to improve our ability to maintain the existing infrastructure to prevent and repair the current leaks in order to reduce the loss,” said Mokonyane during the indaba.

At the indaba,delegates will provide inputs on the drought and advise on how to create a sustainable water future for the country.

The country’s dams are currently at 77.2% of capacity,which is better than last year’s 54%. Last year,Cabinet declared eight provinces disaster areas,the only exception being Gauteng.

Many dams are at satisfactory levels,although North West,Limpopo and Mpumalanga still face challenges.

The minister said the Western Cape,hard-hit by,was experiencing serious water problems. The province has winter rain and dry summers.

A team comprising officials from the department of water and sanitation and the national disaster management committee were working with the province to ensure that short- to medium-term solutions were fast-tracked to guarantee the water security of the province.

 

Eco-H2o is a water conservation company that would be able to assist you with rainwater harvesting systems, greywater reuse systems, back-up water supply systems, pool back-wash recycling systems and toilet flushing systems.   When you have our systems installed in your home not only could you reduce your water bill by up to 90%,you will also never be without water.  We are also suppliers of JoJo water tanks.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater Harvesting.

 

We are faced with a water crisis due to the scarcity of usable water resources. In world terms,only three percent of all water on Earth is freshwater and most of this is frozen in the ice caps. In South Africa,there are no more rivers that could be dammed to store fresh water. Our existing dams are being polluted and the threat of Acid Mine Drainage will only compound the problem in Gauteng.
Continue reading Rainwater Harvesting

How to save water without changing your lifestyle.

How to save water without changing your lifestyle.

The average household consumes approximately 240lt of water per person per day. That means that for a household with four people in it,960lt of water is used every day which equates to 350’400lt per year!

How is this usage broken down? Would you believe that only 3% of your total water consumed is used for drinking and cooking? The rest is used for the garden (35%),toilet flushing (29%),bathing/ showering (20%) and for laundry (13%). If we covert these percentages to volumes,the average home uses 122’640lt per year to water the garden,101’616lt to flush your toilet,70’080lt to keep ourselves clean and 45’552lt to keep our clothes clean! The other 10’512lt per year is used for drinking and cooking.

Eco-h2o Water Conservation look to match water quality with application. Municipal water for drinking (for now anyway but this could change),rainwater for showering,toilet flushing and laundry and lastly,grey water for garden irrigation. A combination of all of our systems can save you up to 90% on your water bills!

Broken down into each application,we look at the various ways to save water.

Toilet flushing.

An average cistern holds approximately 10lt and is emptied each time the toilet is flushed. Our Multi-Flush toilet mechanism allows you to control the amount of water used each time you flush the toilet. In some instances,clearing the pan requires as little as 1lt for men and 2lt for women. As you can see,each flush can save you 8lt which adds up very quickly. If each person flushes twice per day,your saving is 23’360lt of water per year!

Grey water reuse.

Our Greywater System collects water from baths,showers,hand basins and washing machines. No “black water” can be used i.e.:toilet water,dishwashers and kitchen sinks. If we look at the figures above,showering/bathing and laundry combined total some 115’632lt per year. This grey water is then pumped to the garden keeping it watered all year round at no extra cost. We have already established that we use approximately 122’640lt per year on keeping our gardens watered so the water needed for the garden is reduced to 7’008lt per year.

Rainwater harvesting.

If you harvest your rainwater,your water savings are even bigger as the water you harvest is used for bathing,showering,laundry and toilet flushing. Rainfall is seasonal,but for the rainy months,you could be self sufficient in terms of water supply. Rainwater is collected from your downpipes through our Rain Runner filters which remove leaves,dirt and debris that may have accumulated on your roof between rains,thus ensuring that only clean water enters your rainwater tank. Municipal water is introduced to the tank as well ensuring you a backup water supply if there is no rain or municipal water in your area.

Eco-h2o Water Conservation has 7 years’ experience in water conservation with over 2000 installations (residential and commercial) countrywide.

For a free quote contact Sarah on sarah@eco-h2o.co.za or visit www.eco-h2o.co.za for more information.

Acid mine drainage is still a problem

Image result for acid mine drainage images

JOHANNESBURG – Eyewitness News has learned government spent R25 million on a ‘feasibility report’ to establish a long-term solution for acid mine drainage,but two years later the report’s findings have not been implemented.

In 2012,urgent concerns were raised that millions of litres of acid mine water under Johannesburg would flood
Continue reading Acid mine drainage is still a problem

The price of water needs to go up

Proposed revisions to South Africa’s water pricing strategy are as broad as they are complex,but what is clear is that water will become significantly more expensive in the future.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWAS) has gazetted a draft of the revised water pricing strategy,which outlines a theoretical framework that would engender a fully functioning water eco-system. The 2013 document has led the discussion on how South Africa can reduce the financial burden on municipalities,which are required by law
Continue reading The price of water needs to go up

The “Drinkable Book”for treating water

A book with pages that can be torn out to filter drinking water has proved effective in its first field trials.

The “drinkable book” combines treated paper with printed information on how and why water should be filtered.

Its pages contain nanoparticles of silver or copper,which kill bacteria in the water as it passes through.

In trials at 25 contaminated water sources in South Africa,Ghana and Bangladesh,the paper successfully removed more than 99% of bacteria.

The resulting levels of contamination are similar to US tap water,the researchers say. Tiny amounts of silver or copper also leached into the water,but these were well below safety limits.

The results were presented at the 250th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston,US.

Dr Teri Dankovich,a postdoctoral researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh,developed and tested the technology for the book over several years,working at McGill University in Canada and then at the University of Virginia.
Continue reading The “Drinkable Book”for treating water

The new ‘water’tight plan for a leaking economy

The new plan which will be launched soon will save water,billions of rands and create thousands of jobs.

President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said a plan to save water and billions of rands in losses,and create thousands of jobs,will be launched in Port Elizabeth at the end of the month.

The president was speaking on a range of issues from the state of the economy to job losses,as well as the electricity crisis and the new visa regulations. He gave  feedback at the presidential guesthouse on the promises he made during his State of the Nation Address in February.

Zuma said government is ready to launch its plan to save billions of rands lost through leaking taps.   “Government will train 15,000 artisans and plumbers who will fix leaking taps in their communities.”  He said government will continue with its five-point water and sanitation plan.   “Maintain and upgrade existing water and sanitation infrastructure,build new dams and develop ground water.”

The president said water is a critical resource to ensure economic development.

‘ECONOMIC GROWTH WILL IMPROVE’

Zuma on Tuesday said as South Africa addresses the current energy crisis,economic growth will steadily improve.

He said once energy constraints ease,economic growth is expected to reach three percent within the next three years,adding that substantial progress has been made at Eskom to resolve the energy crisis.

Zuma also said renewable energy projects will provide an additional 6,000 megawatts in the next three years.

Eco-H2o is a water conservation company that would be able to assist you with rainwater harvesting systems, greywater reuse systems, back-up water supply systems, pool back-wash recycling systems and toilet flushing systems.   When you have our systems installed in your home not only could you reduce your water bill by up to 90%,you will also never be without water.  We are also suppliers of JoJo water tanks.

Rain on its way

Image result for pictures of rainAbove average rainfall is expected in the North West this spring,but it will be too late for some farmers affected by the drought in the province.

“If you look at the long-term seasonal forecast,we do expect above normal rain. It looks quite positive for spring –the end of August,September,October,”said Tonie Rossouw,a forecaster at the Bloemfontein office of the South African Weather Service.

There has been no rain since December,but the province had normal rainfall for summer. There has also been no rain this winter,but this was normal.

“There was a critical period at the end of January/February. There was a long period of very dry,hot conditions and heat wave conditions,”said Rossouw.
Continue reading Rain on its way

SA’s integrated water system launches

The Department of Water Affairs has created a new online water services system,the National Integrated Water Information System (NIWIS),a data portal for water management institutions.

south africa water system south africa water system,launch

It will allow commercial water users,researchers and the general public to get updated information on the status of water and sanitation in South Africa.
Continue reading SA’s integrated water system launches

It is almost here:Water-shedding

If you think load-shedding is bad,brace yourself for water-shedding…coming to a tap near you. South Africa is fast running out of water,with the worst drought since 1992 leaving dams at critical levels and diminishing rivers and streams. By NIKI MOORE.

The reason for any potential water shedding is almost a mirror image of why we have load-shedding. Since 1994,millions of people have been added to the water grid with very little thought being given to increasing the capacity of water storage or water intake plants. Combined with mismanagement of water,non-payment for water,huge water wastage through lack of maintenance and neglect,and poor governance through corruption,we are facing a high noon of water shortages that might start affecting us in as soon as a few months.

Smaller municipalities are going to be hit first,and hardest. The Kannaland Municipality (Caltizdorp) has a month of water left. Parts of KZN – northern Ethekwini,the South Coast,the rural north – are facing water restrictions as dams dry up. Much of South Africa is about to be declared an official drought zone. Even where water utilities have access to adequate water supplies – such as the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme and the Midmar Dam – the strain will be immense. Water will have to be pumped from large dams to smaller dams;pollution will increase in rivers and dams as the water level decreases,water tables will drop as people pump more from boreholes.

While the current crisis can be blamed on the severe drought,there is a large element of bad governance as well. Twenty years of municipal mismanagement has come home to roost,meaning that between 50% and 70% of our fresh water is being wasted through burst pipes,malfunctioning pumps,broken taps and reckless water use (the ‘acceptable’global figure for non-revenue water is 30%). Adding to our water woes is an historical accumulation of bad waste-water treatment:fully half of our waste-treatment plants are operating below average standards and fully a third are critical. Fresh water is needed to flush out the pollution of raw sewage oozing into our dams and rivers,and a drought will concentrate effluent to dangerous levels.

Leading the water-shedding charge is the Ugu district municipality in southern KZN,where it was announced through the local newspaper on 4 June that some areas would have water ‘restrictors’installed while in other areas there would be scheduled water interruptions. The two local municipalities hardest hit would be Umuziwabantu (Harding) and Vulamehlo (inland from Pennington).

In order to prevent more widespread water shedding,Ugu is asking households and businesses to reduce their water consumption by 30%. This is bad news for the region’s most important industry:tourism. Holiday-makers don’t like unflushable toilets and dry taps.

But the water shortage is nothing new. For the last ten years,the South Coast has experienced water problems during peak holiday season as the influx of visitors puts a strain on the water grid. The rainy season has usually been counted on to refill the dams and flush out the pollution,but this year the rains did not arrive. What did arrive:a huge headache for the South Coast’s water utility,the Ugu District Municipality.

“The main problem,” says the DA Ugu South Constituency Head Dr Rishigen Viranna,“is that for the last twenty years Ugu has been expanding water supply to rural areas and townships,and adding thousands of users to the water grid,which is its mandate. The DA supports that,except that they have not planned to upgrade the main water sources,which are two water plants on the Umzimkulu and Umtamvuma Rivers. As more people have been using water,the capacity of the two plants has come under more and more strain. The two plants supply 28Ml of water per day. In peak season they run over capacity at 38Ml of water per day. But the Ugu region needs 40 Ml of water per day at all times. With the plants running at full capacity all the time,there is no downtime for repair or maintenance.”

AfriForum has also taken on the water crisis in Ugu. “Months ago we asked the Ugu District for their water maintenance plan,” says Hibiscus Coast AfriForum representative Wessel Pretorius. “But either they don’t have one,or they just don’t want us to see it. We actually wanted to help. We can call on the expertise of around 80 retired engineers and technical experts here on the Hibiscus Coast,but they don’t want to work with us.”

At the moment the three dams in Ugu are less than half full and thousands of people receive water from tankers as their only source. Towns such as Harding and Murchison,just outside Port Shepstone,had water riots earlier this year because of water shortages. (The real reason,says locals in Harding,is that frustration about poor service delivery and the lack of water finally overflowed when it was revealed that the mayor had bought herself a new car for R1 million).

“We have been disappointed with poor water supply for a long time,” says Murchison local resident Samkelo Ndwalane. “Water comes on for only a few hours a day,and then it is dirty and full of mud. In July last year,after several weeks for no water,a group of us got together and asked the mayor,ND Gumede,to come and see us to explain. She did not come. The community got angry and wanted to close the N2,but instead we asked the local chief to request the mayor to visit. Again she did not come. By that time the community was very angry. There were about 5,000 of the people by then,and they decided to close the N2.” The highway was closed for a week.

Service delivery protests around the country have begun to focus more and more on water supply. Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in a breakfast briefing on May 20 2013 that unless our water resources were better used,there was a risk of ‘running out of fresh water’. The following day she told Parliament that the dangers of a water shortage had been exaggerated and that ‘South Africa will not run out of water in the next 100 years.’

But scarcity of water depends almost entirely on where you live. Mature and functioning water supply systems,such as Rand Water and Umgeni Water,which serve the large metros of Gauteng and KZN respectively,have multiple water sources in case of drought. The real problems – and the potential for massive civil unrest over a lack of water – lies in the smaller municipalities where a single or finite water source has been compromised by poor management and corruption.

For instance,the Ugu district actually has plenty of water. The area is bracketed by two massive rivers. There are a number of dams that can be topped up. It is a lack of planning that has created the current shortage.

A staff member at the Ugu head-office,who refused to be named,said that the Ugu water management was extremely worried about the water shortage. “They are probably more concerned than the residents themselves,” he said. “They have a long-term plan,a short-term plan,and a medium-term plan.” However,it was impossible to find out what this plan was,as neither the municipal manager DD Naidoo,the Head of Services for Water and Sanitation Lungile Cele,or the municipal spokesman Francis Zama,were available for comment.

“Ugu is doing their best and things are improving,” said the head of the Hibiscus Coast Ratepayers Association Bruce Hulley,“despite a twenty-year backlog of neglect. Things are getting better.”

The same cannot be said for other areas in the country such as North West,Limpopo and Mpumalanga,where water supply has broken down completely and the population rely on expensive water trucks. In some cases,such as Brits,the water plant has allegedly been deliberately sabotaged so that councillors can benefit from water-trucking tenders. In Mpumalanga,and especially Ermelo,the problem is non-existent maintenance of infrastructure so that water is maddeningly sporadic through constant burst pipes. A countrywide problem is standpipes in rural areas and townships that are either broken,stolen or simply left running until reservoirs run dry.

The majority of township and rural residents declare that they would not mind paying for water as long as a secure and reliable source is provided. Whether this declaration will stand the test of billing remains to be seen,but it is certainly true that many people pay for water anyway…in many rural areas there is a brisk trade from the owner of a borehole selling water to the neighbouring community,or a local chief who holds the keys to the taps.

Last month the Department of Water Affairs launched Water Week,stressing the importance of conserving water in the face of a national shortage this year. Their theme was ‘What if this were the last drop’. That is a sobering thought for anyone who has suddenly found a dry tap due to a pipe burst,and it is a daily reality for millions of people throughout South Africa. It could become a daily reality for us all.