SA facing water pollution crisis

2010-09-28 22:40

Johannesburg - By 2015, 80% of South Africa's fresh water resources will be so badly polluted that no process of purification available in the country will be able to make it fit for consumption.

The Environment and Conservation Association said in a statement on Tuesday that it was estimated that in five years, almost 80% of the country's fresh water resources would be so badly polluted that no process of purification available in the country would be able to clean it sufficiently to make it fit for human or animal consumption.

"If we do not find a completely new source of water altogether in about two years, most of Gauteng will be without safe drinking water."

The impending disaster that would be created by acid mine drainage as well as sewerage and industrial pollution had on many occasions been brought to the attention of the government, with no positive results however, the association said.

The association would embark on a massive water monitoring project where it would roll out water testing and monitoring in the six major water catchments in Gauteng and Limpopo, to produce independent and accurate results of exactly how bad the country's water was.

Those results would be released to the public and the media, both locally and internationally.

"We will need approximately R1m for this project. It is time that big businesses, especially those that rely on water for the production of their products like Coca Cola, SAB Miller, Windhoek Beer, all soft drink manufacturers and food producers, get involved and make a substantial contribution towards organisations like ours so we can save South Africa's water."

Water preservation and conservation was not just an environmental issue, but an economic issue.

"Almost 56% of the products we consume rely directly on the supply of clean healthy water, and if this water is not available, those products cannot be produced.

"Water affects every single part of our daily lives and without it we cannot survive. We cannot eat and we will be left in a country made barren by pollution."

  • WaterTax - 2010-09-29 07:28

    I suppose our highly educated government, with it's incredibilbe gift of foresight, will now introduce a water purification tax.

  • BadWes - 2010-09-29 07:30

    Same happened with Eskom, remember. They were warned and warned, but the stupid politicians ignored it. For them they dont worry about these things, they think it just stays in place.

  • Mike D - 2010-09-29 07:30

    Interesting article - leaves just one question. Why should Windhoek Beer get involved in this project ? It is entirely produced in the Republic Of Namibia by Namibia Breweries in Windhoek...

    Especially when this is a project that focuses attention to Gauteng and Limpopo...

  • Concerned - 2010-09-29 07:32

    What do you expect when the government is only concerned about spending lavishly on themselves. The electricity crisis and now the water. When are the law abiding citizens of our beautiful country going to realise that this government we have is disfunctional.

  • Rols - 2010-09-29 07:33

    Not surprised!

  • Os - 2010-09-29 07:39

    Jaa Nee what can we say? the pollution in this country spreads further than precious water. The brains that run this country is contaminated with infected cells

  • Water wise - 2010-09-29 07:40

    Stop complaining and sort it out.

  • Ockert - 2010-09-29 07:43

    Strange that companies like Coca Cola and SAB Miller have to foot the bill- This country had of the best water supplies in the world, not even talking about hospitals, education, roads, own petrol supply (and surplus supply) and electricity in the world. Why are we going down hill ?? - and very fast too!!

  • Iceblock - 2010-09-29 07:43

    Once upon a time, we had a very high rating for the purity & safety of our water. Like the mighty Eskom, another vital utility will crumble. Not a legacy of aparheid, but a legacy of Mandela & Mbeki's short sighted vision. You can light a candle in the dark, but thirst has no quick solution. Where are our leaders, leading us too?

  • Johan - 2010-09-29 07:44

    Finding alternative sources will not solve the problem when municipalities keep polluting water resources through untreated sewage discharge. It's time to privatise bulk water service provision and sewage treatment - why do we keep paying service fees to municipalities when services are not rendered?

  • Roy - 2010-09-29 07:45

    I agree with BadWes. The Eskom fiasco should have been lessons learnt. Hope the Government adheres to this warning, else come 2015, we will be expected to pay some rediculous amount for water.

  • JC - 2010-09-29 07:46

    And you wonder why the government still refuses to release the full report on the state of our water purification plants. Why maintain infrastructure when there are so many new BMW models on the market, and so many wonderful foreign shopping destinations that can be visited on the excuse of some mickey mouse conference - all with taxpayers money!

  • Jacques - 2010-09-29 07:49

    deja vu!!! no water no electricity what a wonderful country we live in

  • City Life - 2010-09-29 07:54

    They will wake up when it's too late & then increase the price of water by 50%.

  • Golly - 2010-09-29 07:56

    All this creates a bad taste in my mouth

  • anton - 2010-09-29 07:57

    The Environment and Conservation Association souns like a bit of a scam. Never heard of them before, have zero credibility, and just seem to be asking for research funds from all the major corporates the mention. Think I will create my own environmental watch-dog, host a press conference with cheese and wine where i present crap stats, and wait for research funds to materialise! It seems to be all the rage!

  • Disappointed - 2010-09-29 07:58

    It is very unfortunate that our current leaders are not visionary and only directed by greed and selfishness. I don't think that they have a contingency plan for their own future in form of preparing for retirement or when they are down and out. They'll expect poor tax payers to pay for their pension grants because they live for today. WHAT A SHAME!!!!!!!

  • John Maynard - 2010-09-29 08:00

    ANC councillors buy cars, mansions and whisky; not sewage treatment works, clinics etc.
    South Africa got what it voted for.

  • Yolanda - 2010-09-29 08:01

    First electricity and now water. They also plan to doing away with private schools and private hospitals. Thank you ANC

  • Yam - 2010-09-29 08:08

    Like our hospitals, roads, electricity grid, these things require constant monitoring, expansion and massive investment. You can't just keep adding more people! Government needs to privatise the wasteful state enterprises, cut back on its bloated public servant employment and reign in the runaway welfare state. Without adequate investment in infrastructure basics like water it will be the poor majority of South Africans who will suffer the most. They can't afford to buy bottled water! I'd like to see a comparison with other provinces. Bet you the Western Cape is not as bad as Gauteng?

  • Sean - 2010-09-29 08:08

    This was on Carte Blanche a few months ago. Why would anyone expect government to be proactive about this - we live in a reactive culture where government needs to see implosion before it reacts. Needless to say tenders will be dished out to their mates who would do a half a*sed job anyway. I just don't understand why a government can't listen to the experts and make decisions accordingly. It smacks of arrogance.

  • Clauds - 2010-09-29 08:08

    Its all a slow process to humans creating the demise of the planet. The end of the world is neigh, and we are all part of it. No matter what they do to save the water someone in the future is going to be here when it all falls over... its inevitable unless the populations stop doubling. Earth is already at its capacity of idiots, how much more can she take?

  • Ashanzi - 2010-09-29 08:10

    It's time the country was run by people, not politicians. What do self-enriching, incompetent, power-mongering nincompoops care about the real world? The public need to be made aware that politicians are the enemy of the people and must be replaced by qualified, competent practitioners (elected by similarly qualified individuals) in all spheres of government.

  • Concerned for all - 2010-09-29 08:12

    regardless of who is at fault, this situation affects us all. It is essential that we come up with modern ideas to resolve this ageing crisis. I would suggest that the Government set up a blog where the public can not only post ideas but also blow the whistle on industries that pollute. It is time for unity in solutions.

  • tax payer - 2010-09-29 08:23

    how does anyone stay positive when mostly everything in this country has become a risk to society?

  • unbelievable - 2010-09-29 08:41

    it is unbelievable that so much time and wasted energy are spend on nonsense when we as humans are busy destroying nature..

  • skywalker - 2010-09-29 08:48

    Tragic....another seemingly endless resource stuffed up in 16 comes the water wars,coupled with drought I see hard times ahead.

  • Glenn - 2010-09-29 08:56

    @John Maynard: Loving your work! "South Africa got what it voted for"

  • Any how... - 2010-09-29 09:09

    Its not water treatment thats the problem, it's a total lack of government/local authority attention to 1) the CURRENT treatment of water, and of course 2) local pollution.

  • Coon - 2010-09-29 09:10

    RRR Reduce Reuse Recycle.
    Zeitgeist and Venus project solves it all.

  • Balasti - 2010-09-29 09:10

    how did this country gt to this?

  • Hopi 2012 - 2010-09-29 09:15

    I take great comfort from the fact that when Mother Earth decides to purify herself, these rsoles will be destroyed along with all the other idiots who continue to kill our planet.

  • Johann - 2010-09-29 09:16

    Government was warned several times in the past. As usual nothing was done about the situation. Once again businesses are supposed to foot the bill, because government was too busy spending tax money on upgrading their own houses. When will tax payers wake up and take the bull by the horns. No service provided, no tax money paid.

  • Tim - 2010-09-29 09:18

    Never heard of the Environment and Conservation Association. What are their credentials? FOr such a study to be successful, it has to be held by someone credible, for example, who knows that Windhoek is in Nambia.

  • brad - 2010-09-29 09:25

    Agrre with Anton. Yes, CSIR and other reputable research institutions have made similar predictions but this is nothing short of sensationalist, typical of News24 to run something like that as a headline. And by the way South Africa has been facing a water crisis since long before 1994- it was never satisfactorily solved during the old regime and neither has it now. Oh, and Namibian Breweries is also in Gauteng by the way (or will be shortly)

  • Arno - 2010-09-29 09:35

    And then the biased bigots who somehow holds the offices of professors are petitioning to boycott our academic relations with Israeli universities who are currently in a joint research project to find a solution to the water pollution crisis in Johannesburg. Cutting these ties will be tantamount to suicide.

  • Natural Selection - 2010-09-29 09:51

    Naturally I Selected to move to another "Water Source" because I'm constantly evolving....

  • pamela - 2010-09-29 09:56

    If this is true why is it not bigger news???? It affects everyone! Why do strikes get more attention than our governments apathy towards this crises? Surely if it was front page news and the media demanded an explanation it would get the appropriate attention? Where is the comment from a government official in this article????

  • Hans - 2010-09-29 10:08

    The root cause of so many of our problems is the dramatic increase in the population of humans. Why is the massive over-population by humans not addressed as a matter of critical national importance? Controlling population growth and then decreasing it is the only long-term solution to the many environmental crises we face ...

  • tseko - 2010-09-29 10:24

    The dumping of pebble modular reactor'll haunt SA. It'd have provided save cleaning of drinking water, electricity, cheaper medical produce, industrialisation, more jobs & economic growth than solar, wind & hydro power. World goes nuclear, so must SA!!!!

  • Candice - 2010-09-29 10:31

    What can one say to yet another prime example of the state of affairs of the South African government. Its difficult to be a patriotic citizen when such a deep resentment of the very foundation of our country is built up on an almost daily basis.

  • Daniel - 2010-09-29 10:41

    It should become compulsory for new developments to install grey water recycling systems (check It is compulsory in New Zealand and also in Israel. Why not SA - we are the 30th dryest country in the world. Wake up and smell the dust.

  • D1s@po1nt3d - 2010-09-29 11:17

    I agree with "Concerned for all" lets all get together and come up with ways to rectify the problems in our country. Not just with our water problem but all the other problems like electricity, agriculture and so forth. This is our land and our childrens land, lets get together and make it a better one for us all.

  • GET OUT... NOW - 2010-09-29 11:24

    I think if there was EVER a time to pack up and get out.... IT"S NOW! THEY ARE RUNNING OUR ONCE beutiful country into the ground and they will not stop until there is NOTHING LEFT!!! The sooner we get out let them have it, run it down to nothing, the sooner they will BEG US TO COME BACK and rebuild it again~!! Not sure if that's possible.... but at the rate they destroying it, it's really not worth hanging around and's just depressing!

  • @SKYWALKER - 2010-09-29 11:30

    Although the present governing body hasn't been great this as well as the power problems are a legacy of the Nats. Time to stop laying blame and fix the problem. If you not part of the solution you're part of the problem

  • Tom Ramdin - 2010-09-29 11:35

    everyone is to blame, not just the government. We are the so called intelligent humans that rule over the earth but we lack wisdom.

  • Ruffdog - 2010-09-29 11:38

    Less policy and more implementation,this has been highlighted for over 12 months now but yet now action has been taken, if anybody reads this from Rand Water, Government, JHB Water please advise what is being done, or if you need help what can we do?

  • Solution... - 2010-09-29 11:46

    will NOT come from state of the art technologies for two reasons: one, they require massive investments (i have just been talking to a dutch colleague of mine, and you cannot even imagine what they spend on purification plants over there), two, the supply side itself is not sufficient. Now what we need is a combination of "improved nd better management of the supply side" coupled with equally "improved and better management of the demand side". Somebody mentioned RRR (demand side) and then pair that with better dam maintanance, pollution controls on rivers, etc. The whole thing boils down to across the board basic education on environment. It should be the basis for ANY school curricula!!!

  • @@SKYWALKER - 2010-09-29 11:59

    For how long will the Nats be held responsible for what the useless ANC is causing? No water you and everything else dies, and as usual the ANC is too busy having conferences instead of concerning themselves with life and death matters.

  • Dave - 2010-09-29 12:15

    Nice to see another disaster fast approaching! I have worked in an industry for twenty odd years which uses huge amounts of water, none, yes you heard right none of the companies I have worked for treat effluent properly, this based on no policing of effluent discharge and around 10% of the muninciple treatment plants in working order! , the rest teat to varying degrees but may as well chuck it straight into the river.
    Strange thing is becuse of this I got the boot from my last company becuse I identified the problem.
    Anyway I have now opened my own consultancy company (taking into consideration the demand should be huge!!) Alas no one wants to fix the problem, we have the skills and the equipment but government is not interested!! We can easily track down problem companies as well but no interest.
    Buy water shares now!!! soon it'll be worth more than gold!