Coca-Cola’s investment in the Greater Cape Town Water Fund is recharging Cape Town’s largest aquifer by empowering women to clear water-intensive alien plants.
The Coca-Cola Foundation (TCCF), Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages (PenBev), and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), along with other partners, today celebrate the completion of a successful pilot project for The Greater Cape Town Water Fund. As a founding investor in the Water Fund, TCCF’s investment of US$150,000 has helped to clear 64 hectares of invasive plants in the Atlantis area of the Western Cape, and empowered 12 females through skills transfer and employment.
The Greater Cape Town Water Fund is working with authorities, the private sector, NGOs and communities to restore the Atlantis aquifer, Cape Town’s largest. By December 2019, the Water Fund will have replenished at least 10,000,000 litres of water to the Atlantis aquifer by clearing 64 hectares of invasive plants in the aquifer’s primary recharge zone. Invasive plants, such as Australian Acacias, consume more water than the native Fynbos vegetation, limiting rainwater recharge to the aquifer. The Fund employs local female job seekers to clear these invasive plants.
“Water Funds are unique financing vehicles that invest in innovative and pioneering initiatives to manage water supplies. We are very excited about our investment in this Water Fund in particular as it will have a positive impact on more than 70,000 people in Witzands and Silverstroom as well as alleviate pressure and increase water security across Cape Town’s water supply system, which serves 4 million people,” explains Dorcas Onyango, Head of Sustainability for Coca-Cola Southern & East Africa.
Over time, the Atlantis aquifer pilot project will be scaled up to priority catchments in the Western Cape Water Supply System to secure water supply. By restoring natural vegetation cover at a large scale, the Water Fund will help catalyze a significant increase in aquifer recharge and help boost water availability.
“Alien plant invasions in the Greater Cape Town region’s catchments are responsible for the loss of 38 million liters of water each year, equivalent to meeting the water requirements of Cape Town for two months. The Greater Cape Town Water Fund works with partners to control thirsty invader plants, restore strategic wetlands and riverine areas, and thereby address these water losses,” said Louise Stafford, The Nature Conservancy’s Water Fund Project Director for South Africa. With a continous need to remove alien plant species, a sustainable business opportunity has been developed for local female entrepreneurs, supported through The Water Fund.
The Nature Conservancy has 29 Water Funds in operation and 30 more in development — all of which are designed to protect the upstream and aquifer water source regions that provide water to large urban centres.
Coca-Cola’s response to the crisis in Cape Town, in addition to investment in the Greater Cape Town Water Fund, includes finding alternatives to municipal water for its beverage production, as well as the provisioning of emergency bottled water supplies. “Over the past 11 years, Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages has reduced the use of water dramatically in the manufacturing process and has one of the best water usage ratios across the Coca-Cola system. Our promise of caring for the communities we service as well as the environment remains of paramount importance to us as a business. We are very proud to be part of the Cape Town Water Fund which has made great progress in such a short space of time,” explains Priscilla Urquhart, Public Affairs and Communications Manager for Coca-Cola Peninsula Beverages.
With water stress and scarcity being the new normal for many regions across South Africa, The Nature Conservancy calls on all partners and other investors like The Coca-Cola Company, to invest in these strategic investment models to manage water resources and optimize water supply.
According to the US Geological Survey, more than 99.7% of the Earth’s water is unusable by humans and most other living things, either because it is saline or trapped in glaciers. This leaves a tiny portion of accessible freshwater for humans to use. To add to the pressure, South Africa is a semi-arid region with a mean annual precipitation of 497mm per year, just over half the global average of 860mm per year making it the 30th driest country in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. In addition, research has indicated that total precipitation in the region has declined, and southern Africa’s water resources are likely to decrease further as a result of climate change and rapidly increasing population growth and urbanization The current water crisis in Cape Town is testimony to this with Day Zero still looming for the city into 2019, and water security very much in the balance. Enter Zero Mass Water’s SOURCE Hydropanels: a world-first technology which uses sunlight and air to make safe, pure drinking water.
Powered entirely by solar, SOURCE extracts pure water vapour from the air and converts it into liquid water similar to distilled. This water is mineralised with magnesium and calcium before being delivered directly to a tap. Completely infrastructure-independent, SOURCE makes water without any external electric or water input. This significant advancement in drinking water access is made possible through the combination of thermodynamics, materials science, and controls technology.
Developed by Zero Mass Water founder and CEO Cody Friesen, a materials scientist and associate professor at Arizona State University, SOURCE utilises an ultra-absorbent material that collects water from the air around it in even arid conditions. Producing an average of 3-5 litres of water per panel per day, the Hydropanels are built in arrays designed to meet the drinking water needs of each application. For developers and architects incorporating smart-home technology into their designs and offerings, SOURCE is a differentiating feature of any modern home. Providing drinking water security and quality without any environmental consequence, SOURCE Hydropanels are vital for every resilient home and community.
For the hospitality sector, SOURCE adds value when built into scalable arrays. The SOURCE Hydropanels are modular and can be aggregated to meet the drinking water needs of a hotel, lodge or office building. “With the high-cost and environmental damage of bottled water, hotels and attractions need a better choice for their guests. Our system provides a daily supply of delicious, high-quality drinking water while offsetting the carbon footprint of bottled water.
With renewable water made on-site, SOURCE offers an infrastructure-free and cost-saving alternative to bottled water, without the hassle or logistics of purchasing and delivering it,” says Friesen. With the technology installed for emergency situations, in municipalities that have failing infrastructures, and homes for families looking for a better drinking water choice, the scope of applications for SOURCE Hydropanels in South Africa is seemingly endless, and will certainly go a long way to ensuring water security for all.
There are many reasons that attribute to the growing water crisis in South Africa.
Climate change and rising temperatures are making droughts more frequent and severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health.
This phenomenon is already being observed in the Western Cape, with Cape Town currently facing the very real threat of running out of water completely – Day Zero as it has become known.
The Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Eastern Cape are all in the grip of one of the worst droughts in history and have been declared national disaster areas.
Coupled with climate change putting pressure on water resources, is the migration of people from rural areas to the cities which means more water demands than ever before.
Water contamination threatens already dwindling water resources
Infrastructure is old and/or lacking, and a backlog in services has exacerbated the issue, with valuable water sources being contaminated with sewage and other pollution.
There are many sources of contamination that end up making their way into our dwindling water resources. One of these is used lubricant oil, which is a common by-product of mechanised processes in all industry sectors.
Used oil contain harmful compounds and carcinogens that can easily contaminate the environment, especially if thrown down drains, into landfills or onto the ground where it leaches into the water table.
One litre of used oil can contaminate a million litres of water.
Because of its harmful properties, used oil is classified as a hazardous waste and is strictly governed by environmental laws – with its storage and disposal needing to meet the requirements of the Waste Act.
The ROSE Foundation (Recycling Oil Saves the Environment) has been championing the responsible collection and removal of used oil for proper recycling since 1994. Bubele Nyiba, the CEO of ROSE explains that due to a lack of education many people who generate used oil may dispose of it improperly and illegally – pouring it down a drain, throwing it out onto the ground or even re-using it as a dust suppressant, burner fuel, or wood preservative.
“It is estimated that South Africa generates an average of 120 million litres of used lubricant oil in a year. This is a large amount of used oil that, if not collected and recycled responsibly, could make its way into our environment.”
The ROSE Foundation offer some practical tips on storing used oil:
- Drain oil into a clean container with a tight fitting lid. Empty oil containers and drums make effective makeshift storage vessels for used oil, however, DO NOT use a container that previously held chemicals, such as cleaners, solvents, fuels, paint or bleach.
- Always clearly label the container “Used Motor Oil.”
- Keep these containers in a place that can be accessed by a NORA-SA used oil collector and keep the surrounding area clear and clean. Ideally store them under cover and away from heat or sources of ignition.
- Keep oil change pans tightly sealed and covered to protect them from rain water. Oil that is contaminated with water is far more difficult to recycle.
- Ensure that you do not mix used oil with other fluids such as antifreeze, transmission fluid, petrol, diesel etc. Mixing them may make them non-recyclable as well as very hazardous and flammable.
- Build a bund wall around bulk used oil storage tanks so that in the event of a spill or leak, the used oil will be contained. In the event of an oil spill, contact your used oil collector.
Once your container is full you can drop it off at your nearest approved municipal garden refuse site – a list of which is available from the ROSE Foundation. Otherwise, most reputable service centres have used oil storage facilities and will take your oil, as they are paid according to volume by the collectors who take it away for processing.
Nyiba says that the safe disposal of hazardous waste has become a critical issue in South Africa in order to protect our environment. “The legislation in place in South Africa means that responsible waste management is no longer a nice thing to do but a necessary thing to do.”
For more information and to find out about an accredited collector or drop-off point, contact the ROSE Foundation on (021) 448 7492 or visit www.rosefoundation.org.za.
As the drought now afflicting most of the agricultural and many of the urban sites of the Western and Eastern Cape cuts ever deeper into the fabric of communities, all non-essential consumption is being assessed to determine its relative priority status.
Those who still enjoy access to any water and whose need is commercial – rather than for the sustenance of human life – are already finding themselves in some kind of a competitive pitch, either in the court of public opinion or for priority once the water tenders come trundling in.
In this, the wine industry finds itself in a better position than Cape Town’s restaurants, hairdressers and hotels – if only because, for the time being at least, it’s not facing a certain Day Zero. When the taps go dry in the Mother City, the vines won’t die (at least, not overnight) and there will be years worth of maturing stock to sustain wine producers (as opposed to grape growers) till the rains come, as one day they will.
Where the growers will face some mid- to long-term concerns will be when it comes to prioritising grape farming in the overall context of agriculture. The wine industry may be a major contributor to the economy of the Western Cape, but it is politically alienated. It’s going to have a tough time arguing for its water rights in the face of the demands of other consumers, whether those who seek potable water, those providing more essential foodstuffs, those who can produce evidence that litre for litre (to parody the late Clive Weil’s “trolley for trolley”) they generate more revenue, more employment, or a better fiscal contribution than other competitors for this resource.
Some regions and districts are better off than others: Elgin, around an hour’s drive from Cape Town, catches more precipitation than many of the coastal appellations and has adequate water supplies for fruit growing and wine-making – for the moment. On the other hand, this year the high-volume, irrigation-dependent growers along the banks of the Olifant’s River could see well over 50% of their potential crop lost – simply because their operations have been designed around optimising crop size (rather than quality) by massively hydrating their vines.
The Clanwilliam dam level is so low that grape growers will be allocated a mere 17% of their normal uptake. While for such large-scale farming operations the drought spells bad news, their crisis will have a relatively small impact on consumers of fine wines. The price of cask wine would go up, as would the price of those beverages which depend on this low-cost grape-based alcohol. The fruit juice industry would also have to look elsewhere for the concentrate with which they create their particular brand of sugary drink.
Vines, as viticulturists constantly remind us, are weeds. They may not thrive on neglect, but unlike roses, for example, they are hardy andrelatively drought-resistant. (In France it is illegal to irrigate vineyards producing appellation contrôlée wines). Vines will not necessarily produce their best fruit under arid conditions, but they will survive, and in some circumstances they might do very well. The best two Coastal Region vintage years in recent memory in South Africa were 2015 and 2017, while 2016 produced some very good wines. This trio of vintages (particularly the latter two) sit firmly in the era of constrained water supply. The 2018 crop will certainly be smaller – even in the areas which are not as dependent on irrigation as the Olifants River – but the smaller berry size could lead to more concentrated flavours. The concerns for now are the potential for excessive vine stress during the ripening season, as well as heat spikes going into the key weeks leading up to the vintage. The next month or two will provide empirical results.
The much more serious effect of the water shortage could be in its impact on wine producers – in other words, those who convert the fruit into wine. Wineries are food factories and consume an enormous amount of water. Many were built in an era when water conservation wasn’t front of mind. In the past couple of decades planning permission has been linked to waste water management, but even here this has generally meant containing the chemicals and waste removed in cleaning and flushing the tanks, barrels and winery buildings. In a situation which is not unlike the one presently confronting hairdressers and restaurateurs, winery owners may have to find a way of performing the processes which define their economic activity without the supplies of water that they have, until now, taken for granted. Recycling what they are able to obtain would certainly be a key component of whatever strategy they devise – but they would have to be more willing (than the Western Cape authorities, for example) to work on the assumption that water shortages are here to stay – at least for the foreseeable future.
Small-scale water recycling plants – of the kind which enable rural real estate developers to provide proper water-borne sewerage management (rather than the more old-fashioned septic tank treatments) cost around R900,000 and turn waste into potable water. This is not an investment lightly undertaken if you believe that by the 2019 vintage the dams will be full. However, if you need to plan the continued existence of a business whose real window of opportunity is a three-month period between the time the grapes come into your cellar, and the fermentation has been complete, you can’t disregard the importance of making the investment: it’s no different from installing generators, inverters and UPS back-ups in a time of load shedding.
The 2018 water crisis is going to have a significant impact on the Cape wine industry. Its primary impact – looking at the whole value chain from vineyards to the distribution of finished wine – will initially be a marginal decline in fine wine availability, a more significant decline (with a commensurate increase in price) in the vin ordinaire sector, with higher average costs per litre produced. These initial shortages may help the industry achieve its objective of a structural re-pricing exercise (though I wouldn’t hold my breath). The bigger question of whether the production sector will be able to adjust to an environment in which supplies of water are semi-permanently constrained will depend on the availability of financial resources, as well as the willingness to invest.
There is a final consideration, seemingly unimportant in the face of more pressing needs, which does need to factored into the industry’s long-term planning: its lobbyists constantly remind government that wine is a key driver of international tourism, which in turn makes an important contribution to the GDP of the Western Cape. If there are fewer tourists because of the long-term effects of the drought, less wine will be sold. Likewise, if the wine industry declines, so might the number of tourists. There will of course be a new equilibrium – but it will come with less employment and more hardship, spread through a population whose prospects are already looking pretty grim.
The growing funding gap to keep up with the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of ageing water infrastructure is a global concern, particularly in the current age of austerity, says global engineering firm Aurecon.
The firm emphasises that new water systems need to be built to cope with increasing populations, shifting consumption patterns, improving technologies, an uncertain future and a changing climate.
To tackle the outlined challenges, he suggests that there must be a global mindset change. “We need to create new sustainable and resilient water realities, based on a comprehensive understanding of problems, imaginative approaches, cooperation, new paradigms, and new technologies.”
In a South African context, Aurecon’s studies indicate the critical importance of constructing integrated bulk water supply infrastructure to mitigate negative impacts associated with limited water supply. This is already seen in the Western Cape’s forced Level 4 water restrictions, which have meant households and businesses have had to take extreme and immediate action to comply with critical water-saving measures.
“Almost every day, there are constant reminders of the increasing scarcity of water and the importance of managing this essential natural resource in the face of increasing demands, degrading environmental conditions and climate change,” says Aurecon water resources engineer Dr James Cullis.
The Value of Water
Cullis explains that clean, safe drinking water is an important prerequisite for life, the environment and healthy living. He adds that, while many countries globally spend up to 20% of their national budgets on healthcare, investment in quality water supply remains inadequate.
As a result, Jonker reveals that four out of five illnesses in developing countries have been linked to poor water and sanitation, and one death in five of children under the age of five worldwide is related to waterborne diseases. Even in developed countries, a lack of attention to the protection of critical water supply sources can have significant human health implications.
He further highlights that, by 2050, it is expected that foodproduction will demand 20% more water than it currently does, owing to the increase in global standards of living and the trend towards diets consisting of meat and dairy products.
“The amount of water required in the cultivation and production of food and other products is significant. It takes 600 ℓ of water to produce 500 g of wheat, 1 000 ℓ of water for 1 ℓ of milk, and 4 600 ℓ to produce one 300 g beef steak.”
Water as a Catalyst for Peace
Moreover, Cullis explains that one of the greatest challenges for the future is how to ensure sufficient and sustainablewater supply for a growing global population in excess of seven-billion. Sustainable water resources management requires collaborative partnerships among diverse stakeholders.
“Our growing world will demand more water and generate more pollution. This impacts and threatens ecosystems, water sustainability, peace and security. This, in turn, threatens the future and certainty of the world’s watersupply.”
Water supply risks are exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure spending, maintenance and poor managementand governance. However, Jonker postulate that this could be a necessary catalyst for improved cooperation between countries, especially in regions such as Africa, with 59 transboundary river basins.
The average washing machine uses 50 litres of water per load. While Capetonians are allowed only 87 litres of water per person per day, washing one’s clothing at home is almost impossible. Save money – and the environment – with Green Planet Laundry.
Experts predict that the Western Cape drought will continue to have a big impact on citizens for years to come, and that even once it passes, we will need to do more to limit our daily water consumption. Green Planet Laundry’s innovative process, which uses purified borehole water instead of drinking water to clean your laundry, is a major step in the right direction. But, whenever consumers hear the words “green,” “eco-conscious” or “eco-friendly,” they think expensive. The great news is that Green Planet Laundry offers competitive pricing, and in many cases, they’recheaper than your local laundromat!
For washing and folding, the average laundromat in Cape Town charges between R25 and R40 per kilogram of laundry, and between R34 and R45 to have the washed laundry ironed as well. Green Planet comes in under with the average with this impressive price list:
|Wash & Fold (5kg minimum)||R28 per kg|
|Wash, Iron & Fold (5kg minimum)||R40 per kg|
|Blankets & Duvet Inners||From R89 per item|
|Curtains (including ironing)||R75 per kg|
|Shoes (fabric)||R60 per pair|
|Stain treatment||R15 per item|
See the full price list here: https://greenplanetlaundry.com/price-list/
Why is it so affordable? Municipal (drinking) water is expensive, and the average laundromat uses thousands of litres of it every day. Green Planet Laundry uses sophisticated equipment to extract and purify underground borehole water, which eliminates water bills while preserving our precious water supply. This allows Green Planet Laundry to keep costs down, and make this revolutionary system more affordable for the public.
Green Planet Laundry will open its doors in Cape Town on 16 October 2017.
About Green Planet Laundry
Unlike other Commercial Laundries, the Cape Town based Green Planet Laundry does not tap into the city’s precious municipal water supply. Instead, they make use of purified borehole water. That means that absolutely no tap water is used!
How does it work?
The Water used at Green Planet Laundry is 100% ground water (borehole). Additionally, 50% of the (grey) water used in our machines is recycled therefore further reducing required ground water.
Cape Town residents can now experience the convenience of sending their laundry to be cleaned without the guilt of wasting natural resources. Water restrictions in the Western Cape are becoming a permanent fixture, and this is a perfect opportunity through which residents can decrease the number of litres consumed by their household.
Green Planet Laundry services all the greater Cape Town areas from Strand to Paarl to Duynefontein to Cape Point.
For more information, please mail Anien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
South African mining companies can manage water usage as part of a wider, integrated strategy for sustainable business, writes Stephen Austin, independent energy advisor to Ensight Energy Solutions.
The persistent drought in most of South Africa over the last couple of years and especially in the Western Cape province these last two years should serve as a wakeup call to South African industry and government. We live in a water-scarce country, yet many organisations are failing to manage water usage in a way that reflects just how precious this resource is and how important it is to conserve it.
South Africa is one of the 30 driest countries in the world, with an annual rainfall of less than 450 mm, well below the world average of around 860 mm a year. As we begin to feel more of the effects of climate change, we can expect to endure more extreme weather conditions, including the possibility of more frequent droughts that last longer.
Agriculture accounts for around 60% of South Africa’s water usage and 12% goes to domestic use, according to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWA). Usage for afforestation makes up 3.7%, power generation accounts for 2.2%, and mining and bulk industrial use comprises around 5.7%. Little attention is paid to the industrial sector’s use of water, yet it is an area where we can score relatively quick and easy wins.
A growing operational risk
Nonetheless, we are not seeing mining companies pay much attention to water effi ciency, for the simple reason that it is not a major operational cost for most of them. Where energy costs may account for up to 30% of a major mining company’s operational expenditure, water might make up less than 2% of its operating costs.
The relatively low cost of water usage for most mining companies, however, belies its importance in production. From cooling production machinery to smelting material to moving minerals, water is crucial to mining. If the water supply to a plant stops, it will not be able to continue production, which will in turn damage its revenues and profits. This is a good reason to embrace water effi ciency as a business imperative – another is that the cost of water is likely to rise in the years to come.
The good news is that a strategy for water efficiency can work in lockstep with a mining company’s drive to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. If you are wasting electrical power on a mine, there is a good chance you are wasting water too (and vice versa).
Imposing discipline on your energy usage will also help to reduce water usage in most cases. This is about looking at your environment in a holistic way and seeing how your various systems and equipment interact with each other.
Ways to use water more efficiently
For example, a mine that is using ineffi cient slurry systems to move material will possibly be pumping more water than it needs to into the system as well as using excessive power. A small increase in the density of the slurry mixture and a more efficient water pumping system could decrease water requirements by as much as 30%. Similarly, in a process plant running equipment that is 30 years old, it’s not unusual to be using water at a pressure four times higher than necessary to suppress dust – a potential waste of both power and water.
Another great example is how poorly optimised the cooling systems are in many mining processes – if you’re using old, inefficient technology, it will be generating more heat than necessary, demanding more water and power to cool it. Another innovation that South African mining companies could look at is desalination plants to produce fresh water. They can use energy efficient solar sources or recaptured heat from other systems for this purpose.
Ensight Energy Solutions, which helps companies in energy-intensive industries such as resources to implement efficient solutions that reduce their energy costs and their carbon emissions, has worked closely with a number of mining companies on energy efficiency strategies. When we measure how this impacts on water usage the results are encouraging.
We helped one customer save around 143 000 MWh in energy a year through a range of strategies – this also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 142 000 t and saved nearly 5 700 Mℓ of water (that’s enough water for 76 600 hippos’ annual water requirements).
Given the fragile water situation in South Africa, mining companies should embrace water efficiency both as an essential component of their risk management strategy and as a contribution towards ensuring the sustainability of our country. Using water efficiently can help organisations meet their energy efficiency and carbon emission goals; it is an integral part of running a responsible and sustainable business.
South Australia’s largest water and sewerage services supplier has become the latest in Australia to turn to renewables to minimise its electricity costs, announcing plans to commission a commercial-scale solar and storage system at its Crystal Brook Workshop site.
In a Request for Tender launched late last week, SA Water Corporation said it was seeking to build a grid-connected, rooftop solar PV system of more than 100kW, along with a 50kWh battery storage system and “smart controls.”
The company, which manages more than 27,000km of water mains, including 9,266 km in the Adelaide metropolitan area, said it was installing the solar and storage system to manage periods of high electricity prices, and to ensure safe and sustainable delivery of water to customers.
“The proposed system shall be behind the meter, and designed to minimise electricity costs via the ability to dispatch stored energy as required,” the tender request said.
“The system should have the ability to smooth grid supplied energy and also to use stored energy on site or export back to the grid.
“Provision of system integration with remotely operated control and energy monitoring interfaces are to be included as part of the system design.”
SA Water Corporation is just one of many water and waste management utilities around the country making the shift to renewables.
As reported on One Step Off The Grid, the energy intensive industry is increasingly turning to solar and/or wind energy to lower costs and help guarantee supply.
In the regional Victorian city of Portland, Wannon Water’s water and sewerage treatment plant will soon be powered entirely by wind energy, with plans for the construction of an 800kW wind turbine revealed in May.
And in March, also in regional Victoria, North East Water launched a tender to install 43kW of solar panels and 40kW of battery storage at its Yakandandah facility.
In Queensland, the City of Gold Coast is proposing to install a series of floating solar PV arrays on its network of wastewater ponds – both to help power the city’s wastewater treatment plants and to cut evaporation from the ponds.
Applications for the SA Water Corporation solar and storage project can be lodged here. Tenders close at 2pm on Thursday July 20.
This article was originally published on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, which focuses on customer experience with distributed generation. To sign up to One Step’s free weekly newsletter, please click here.
The World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA) taking place in Durban till Friday shows that South Africa continues to be a gateway to the rest of Africa, says Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba.
During a roundtable discussion on “blue economies” South Africa’s Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa shared lessons on how African nations can utilize water resources, such as rivers and oceans, as pathways to reach markets and also use them to create more economic opportunities.
Several films have been confirmed including International Emmy Award Winning Director Rehad Desai’s The Giant is Falling, which will premiere in Durban at the People’s Economic Forum.
Unlocking industrial activity and intra-Africa trade, as well as growing Africa’s share of global trade is crucial for continental development, in his view.
The South African President noted many African youths lack rare skills which makes them unemployable.
Dozens of activists are demanding that delegates who are now attending the World Economic Forum on Africa be sent home in the same manner that President Jacob Zuma was during Monday’s May Day rally. These thoughts lead into this year’s theme of responsive and responsible leadership.
President Edgar Lungu will be accompanied Minister of Commerce and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Energy, David Mabumba and Presidential Affairs Minister, Freedom Sikazwe.
The Africa Competitiveness Report combines data from the Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) with studies on employment policies and city competitiveness.
Mr Mwamba said the President is among regional leaders that include President Jacob Zuma as host; SADC chairperson, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland; President of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi; President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni; and President of Namibia Hage Geingbo, among others. The forum met in Pretoria on 3 May 2017 where the circular economy was also discussed amongst other issues of mutual interest.
Past year the focus was on how Africa can benefit from the massive technological changes happening in the world – termed The Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The meeting has on its agenda initiatives for economic growth and social inclusion, digital economy and society, education gender and work, food security and agriculture, environment and natural resource security, health and healthcare and long-term investing and infrastructure.
The Water Research Commission (WRC) today set the trend as world leaders with the launch of the world’s first ’mine water atlas’ in partnership with consulting firm Golder Associates. The event was also part of the World Water Day Celebrations that saw the global Launch of the UN World Water Development Report 2017: “Wastewater: The Untapped Resource” at the international conference centre, Durban, South Africa. The mine water atlas was officially launched by the honourable Minister of Water and Sanitation, Ms. Nomvula Mokonyane.
The South African Mine Water Atlas, provides a comprehensive reference on the vulnerability of water resources to mining activity in South Africa and will be launched at the United Nations World Water Day event on 23 March 2017, at the Durban ICC. The Atlas will highlight the critical interplay between mining and water resources and will be the most extensive set of documents of its kind. “We’re very excited about this project. It’s a world first. No country in the world has done this before,” said Water Research Commission research manager Dr Jo Burgess. The project, which was led by consulting firm Golder Associates, aimed to deliver the most comprehensive document of its kind in South Africa.
The Atlas will introduce mine water and its geological, hydrological and legal context, while examining the geographical foundations of water quantity, quality and distribution, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing South Africa as it strives to improve the quantity, quality, protection and use of its water resources. “Decision-makers will be able to look to the Atlas for background information and tools to assist in fulfilling commitments made in other recent events and declarations,” explained Burgess. “The Atlas uses various measures to illustrate South Africa’s hydrological characteristics by charting and mapping water resources on a provincial scale.” Further, each mining-affected province and the challenges, and opportunities it faces are addressed.
The Mine Water Atlas in application:
The multi-layered set of maps spans all mineral provinces in South Africa and particularly drills down into the areas where mining frequently takes place. The maps chart the water resources in the various provinces and in turn are overlaid with maps of mining and mineral-refining activities, in order to understand the locations at which surface and groundwater and mining collide. The Atlas is intended to help mining companies, investors, government departments and students get a better understanding of the impact of mining on water resources. While it is an extremely useful guide, the Atlas does not replace Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) or tell you where you can or can’t mine, but assists with the decision-making process around the likely impacts of mining activity in a given mineral region. The Atlas can be used to see what the potential liabilities may be and what the focus of mitigation measures may need to be to protect water resources in an area of operation; for example, water treatment plants may be needed to ensure water discharges from the mines are of good quality and won’t damage the environment or pose a risk to public health.
Mining often comes under the spotlight for water pollution problems. Uncontrolled discharge of acid, neutral, and saline mining-impacted water can have a devastating effect on surface and ground water resources. Acidic water leaching out of mine dumps can flow into rivers or streams, stop plants from growing and kill the food chain from the bottom up. When left unchecked, the dirty water generated from mining activities finds its way into surface water features such as rivers and wetlands, negatively impacting both downstream users and the aquatic environment.
• The Atlas will help government departments to visualise and highlight areas that are very risky, and help define the key questions for impact assessment
• It will serve as an educational reference for legislators as well as universities.
• It is geared towards raising awareness among the public about the critical link between water and mining.
The Mine Water Atlas for South Africa’s primary benefit lies in the ability to assess cumulative impacts of mining in a catchment, through the understanding of the presence of upstream mines (both operational and derelict) and the sensitivity of the receiving water environment. This in turn will enable an improved understanding of an individual’s mine’s potential impact versus the cumulative impact.
The Water Research Commission is committed to leading research that will continue to produce ground breaking interventions such as the Mine Water Atlas and will continue to partner with industry to translate leading research into tangible implementations that ultimately inform legislation, drive innovation, educate the public and ultimately improve the quality and quantity of water resources.