Middle-class South Africans could start paying more for water by the middle of next year when the government plans to drop the free allocation of water (6kl) that each residential property receives.
This is part of the National Water Strategy review submitted to the cabinet by Water Affairs for a final decision yesterday.
The decision has not yet been made public,and department spokesman Sputnik Rantau said there would be a public participation process before the final review is legislated.
“It is part of the regulatory process that we have been involved with over the past year,”he said.
Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday that the department wants to equalise the cost of water across the country,and that large areas –such as Johannesburg –are underpaying.
“One of the things we are looking at there is to review what is called the free basic water,”she said.
Continue reading Basic free water under review
A report on the feasibility of the proposed long-term solution to South Africa’s acid mine drainage problem,already submitted to the Department of Water Affairs,would be made public,department spokesman Sputnik Ratau said on Wednesday.
South Africa’s acid mine drainage problem affects an area far wider than the Witwatersrand’s three “basins”,where the potential pollution of water sources is seen as most urgent.
Continue reading AMD report to be made public,but probably not this year
President Jacob Zuma urged communities on Tuesday to take care of infrastructure provided for them.
Opening the Spring Grove Dam in Rosetta,near Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal,he said infrastructure belonged to all South Africans.
“We should not allow them to be vandalised or uncared for. We must consider and remember that if they do not function or are destroyed we cannot get the necessary services.”
Zuma said South Africans should remember that the country was one of the driest on earth.
“Not a drop must be wasted,not a drop must be polluted,and all infrastructure developed must be cared for.
“Water is life. Let us conserve it,respect it and enjoy it.”
He said water was both a basic necessity and a basic human right.
“This is why this government prioritises the provision of water
Continue reading Water is life,let us conserve it.
This week is a big one for those on either side of the fracking fence. The 30-day period for public comment on the draft regulations on fracking draws to a close this week (on November 14),with people for and against shale gas extraction just as passionate about the issue as ever.
Billionaire conservationist and Richemont chairman,Johann Rupert,the Treasure Karoo Action Group,led by Jonathan Deal,and many other concerned South Africans have led the charge against fracking,but the odds seem increasingly against them.
Several key government ministers have come out clearly in favour of shale gas extraction,a potential money-spinner for the government and an alternative to coal-fired power.
A contentious Econometrix study says if exploration is successful and fracking goes ahead,it could add 0.5% of GDP to the economy every year for 25 years. The Econometrix report and its figures have been challenged by Deal.
Deputy President,Kgalema Motlanthe,Trade and Industry Minister
Continue reading Heading for a showdown on fracking
The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy:The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertiliser into the water supply.
Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way.
With the Iowa political caucuses on the horizon in 2007,presidential candidate Barack Obama made home-grown corn a centrepiece of his plan to slow global warming. When
Continue reading Obama’s green push dirty cost
In the hotter,wetter and drier South Africa of the future,many things will go wrong. Water sources will dry up. Malaria,yellow fever and dengue fever will thrive. Extreme weather and malnutrition could cripple vulnerable communities. Some species may vanish,possibly forever.
That’s why for Dr Belinda Reyers preparing for climate change and reducing our vulnerability to its impacts is “possibly the most important societal priority facing us now”.
Reyers,of the natural resources and environment unit at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research,was commenting on this week’s release of the Long-term Adaptation Scenarios (LTAS) Phase One reports by the
Continue reading Preparing for climate change
On 25 October –pay day – drama erupted outside the City Hall in Grahamstown when a group of unpaid workers gathered,demanding to know what had happened to their earnings. SAMWU officials attempted to placate workers,relaying the municipality’s message that they had not been paid merely because of a “technical glitch”.
“We have bonds,car payments and policies bouncing in the bank. In the 25 years of my working life,I have never experienced this. It is very frustrating and we will be the ones accruing all the interests,”said one of the angry workers.
After a scramble to contact the city’s “top ten” debtors,Makana managed to pay some of its workers over the following weekend –but the workers’ fortunes were mixed.
Councillors adjourned a Council meeting on the following Monday because the mayor,Zamuxolo Peter,and municipal manager,Dr Pravine Naidoo,were forced to address disgruntled workers who still hadn’t received their October pay cheques.
Continue reading Makana’s water cuts,unpaid salaries &billings from Hell
Africa has its first-ever bank that runs completely on renewable energy.
Nedbank’s Lansdowne Corner branch,situated in Cape Town,makes use of an innovative hybrid power installation,which effectively makes it a 100% off-the-grid outlet.
It harnesses solar and wind energy,converting it to standard mains electricity which is fed back on to the national electricity grid. It is able to offset the entire branch’s electricity consumption in this way.
Nedbank says it transformed the Lansdowne Corner branch as part of its commitment to environmental sustainability in South Africa.
Continue reading Nedbank’s “Green”outlet
Johann Rupert is promising to take a legal fight up to the highest court possible.
Stretching across the heart of South Africa,the Karoo has stirred emotions for centuries,a stunning semi-desert wilderness that draws artists,hunters and the toughest of farmers.
It is now rousing less romantic passions.
If energy companies and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) get their way,it will soon be home to scientists and geologists mapping out shale gas fields touted as game-changers for Africa’s biggest economy,and working out whether fracking will work here.
As with other prospective sites around the world,especially in Europe,the process is meeting significant
Continue reading SA anti-fracking mix
This is an updated version of a report published in April 2013,revised to reflect a repeat of the claim by President Jacob Zuma in a speech to foreign ambassadors on 16 October 2013.
President Jacob Zuma has claimed that South Africa is “one of only 12 countries where tap water is safe to drink throughout the country”. The claim is untrue.
In a speech welcoming the new heads of diplomatic missions to South Africa this week,President Jacob Zuma claimed South Africa is “one of only 12 countries where tap water is safe to drink throughout the country”. This,he said,“is because we spend so much on capturing,storing and distributing water in a safe and clean way”.
Zuma is not the first South African politician to make the claim and probably will not be the last.
Former Water Affairs minister Buyelwa Sonjica once claimed that the country’s drinking water “ranks among the best in the world”and that South Africa is “one of only a handful of countries globally where one can drink water directly from
Continue reading Zuma’s claim that SA is 1 of only 12 Countries with safe tap water is untrue