THE POTENTIAL to create 100 climate jobs and to help : bring a "dead river system" back to life -that's the rationale behind a proposed pilot project to heal one of Gauteng's most heavily polluted river systems, the Tweelopiespruit, which has been contaminated by more than a century of mining.
NEARLY 20 years after they were written into South Africa's National Water Act, most of the crucial agencies that have the power to authorise water use are still not functional.
The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has used a "sledgehammer" for its R1bn treatment plant for acid mine drainage (AMD) on the Eastern mining basin that could ultimately create more toxic water.
This is the view of water strategy and consulting mining hydrologist Kym Morton, who believes government is "wasting money" by pumping large volumes of water and adding lime that makes it alkaline but still toxic and hazardous.
Focus on preventing illness rather than incurring the expense of treatment.
In the Midvaal suburb where Sipho Mosai lives, the gardens are lush and green because the sprinklers run all day. There's little sense of alarm at the fast-declining water levels in the Vaal water system after which the suburb is named.
The Federation for a Sustainable Environment has objected to the Water Use Licence granted to Sedibelo Platinum Mine within the Moses Kotane Local Municipality, North West Province.
An extract from the objection follows, and the full document is available to download.
Water affairs and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane is in the cross-hairs of the Public Protector after delaying South Africa’s Lesotho Highlands Water Project, allegedly to award contracts to a company she has a long-standing relationship with.
This is according to a report by the City Press, noting that the Public Protector will meet with Mokonyane over the issue this week.
The project has been delayed by over a year due to Mokonyane’s direct intervention, the report said, pushing its completion date to 2025, and pushing the price up to R26 billion.
The entire project is being funded by taxpayers.
Senior officials told the City Press that the delay was forced by Mokonyane so that consulting firm, LTE Consulting, could get involved.
According to the City Press’ findings, LTE has been awarded R5 billion worth of contracts in water and sanitation over the past year. It was also found that the company had donated as much as R3.5 million to the ANC in the past two months.
The standard fee for consultation is 10% of the total cost, the paper said, meaning a spot on the water project could net the company as much as R2.6 billion.
Executives from LTE have reportedly been contacting and paying delegates involved with the project, trying to convince them the give them tenders. When told by officials that the company had to bid for tenders, LTE CEO Thulani Majola allegedly said that he was not interested in bidding, and would approach Mokonyane directly.
Subsequently, the bids for a number of tenders – from other companies – were rejected by the department soon thereafter.
In response to the country's need to take an improved integrated approach to Water Quality Management, the Department of Water and Sanitation has recently initiated a project to revise its current Water Quality Management (WQM) Policies and Strategies.
The Department of Water and Sanitation's existing treatment programme involving pumping acid mine drainage out of the Witwatersrand basin and then partially treating the water by neutralising it will not assist in alleviating the challenge in the long term, says the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) CEO Mariette Liefferink.
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Environmental risk analyst Dr Anthony Turton has vehemently denied claims by independent environmental organisation the Federation for a Sustainable Environment (FSE) that tailings extractor Mintails has not complied with the terms of its water-use licence (WUL) and other environmental requirements to the extent that makes it criminally culpable.
Mariette Lierfferink, CEO of the Federation for a Sustainable Environment states that while the Department of Water and Sanitation alleges that the Acid Mine Drainage situation is no longer a reason for concern, the investigation report by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) adduces evidence to the contrary.
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Although acid mine drainage (AMD) in the Witwatersrand basin is the result of a legacy of environmental mismanagement of water resources by mines and lax enforcement of regulations by government, these role-players are working to constructively address this problem, says Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) senior manager Marius Keet.
In Mpumalanga the Escarpment Environmental Protection Group (EEPOG) and the Wonderfontein Community Organisation have applied to the Pretoria High Court for an order to reinstitute the Water Tribunal.