CT, Durban may drink recycled water

2012-10-10 10:46

Cape Town - Cape Town and Durban residents will soon have to face the possibility of drinking recycled water from sewerage works as it becomes more scarce, the Cape Times reported on Wednesday.

Water affairs department director Johan van Rooyen said the two cities were both flushing large volumes of domestic waste water into the ocean when it could be recycled.

He told a meeting in Umhlanga that while it was technically possible to desalinate sea water, the cost would be too high.

Desalinated water would cost about R12 per kilolitre, whereas recycling domestic effluent to tap water quality would cost around R7 per kilolitre.

According to the report, Gauteng was not immune to the crisis and would have to start diluting large volumes of acidic mine water within the next three years to avoid unacceptable pollution of the Vaal River system.

Water Institute of SA vice-president Jo Burgess said the first reaction to drinking water from sewerage works was "yuck". However, the reality was that citizens had indirectly been drinking it for several decades from contaminated rivers.

  • beki.khumalo - 2012-10-10 10:53


      sanda.mnyazi - 2012-10-10 14:22 would help if you first read the article - 2012-10-10 15:06

      So what's new? We've been eating the $h!t the govt has been feeding us for years....

      daleinn - 2012-10-10 15:30

      why cant they recycle the sea water for usage ?

      gary.bloom.967 - 2012-10-10 15:51

      Alicia and Unity - just read the article first. Cost to desalinate is way more expensive.

      Simon - 2012-10-10 17:25

      some of these comments are lol....but a shame lol not a funny lol. a lulz. dumasses

      hugh.robinson.56 - 2012-10-10 18:06

      It is plainly obvious that this country suits most who write here as none has taken the time to think. Government refuses to allow / introduce as a water management strategy bulk collection of rain water. In Durban in the rain fall season in one rain of 20mm about 800 mega litres of water can be saved if rain water harvesting was employed. Take time to work that out and realise that Durban and Cape town do not want you to use God given rainwater. They are worried about there impact on the money stream. They want you to pay for water and processed water is not cheap. The other well kept secret that everyone ignores and never dares ask in case they are labelled racist is for that about every five litres of water used in a Urban household 10 lts is given away free of toll. Take a ride in to tribal trust and predominantly Black areas. Open your eyes then ask why we need to pay for processed water?

  • malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-10-10 11:02

    Water shortage? Half of the cape is literally flooded for around half the year, have they considered actually building more dams, or is that just some way out there strange concept?

      shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-10-10 11:11

      Malcolm is right! folks.

      Werewabbit - 2012-10-10 11:40

      they have dammed every river available, well according to a News 24 article from earlier this year anyway. I thought they were doing that already. I know big cities like London and New York do recycle water

  • Cameron - 2012-10-10 11:10

    Now that is dangerous! The incompetence and lack of care will lead to alot of people dying!

  • julius.hond - 2012-10-10 11:13

    'However, the reality was that citizens had indirectly been drinking it for several decades from contaminated rivers'. WTF????

  • malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-10-10 11:17

    We could also have (or already have had if it weren't for the anti nuke crowd) free (or nearly free) desalination as a by product of nuclear power, why is this not brought up and/or offered as an alternative?

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-10-10 11:48

      That is truth!! But alas, the tree huggers make out as if Nuclear power is the great evil of the world, when in fact it is the cleanest and safest, compared to any other way of power supply.

      adino.nelson - 2012-10-10 12:32

      Well, nuclear power would negatively impact on the profits of the coal mining companies - so that's the main reason why it is not a feasable enterprise

  • Tony Lapson - 2012-10-10 11:18

    Hard life being an exponentially reproducing living being. Let's keep popping out babies and complain about recycled water.

  • urealy.suk - 2012-10-10 11:19

    And a desalination plant is not an option cause these cities aren't near the sea...oh wait, that not right! So how about cleaning me some sea water to drink you lot in charge up there!

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-10-10 11:23

      In fairness our sea water is also sewerage, thanks to our non-functioning government, so I guess its better to use sewerage without salt in it rather than have to first desalinate the sewerage :(

      kenpeg.dawson - 2012-10-10 11:39

      Urealy seawater is also recycled Sh*t if you look what gets pumped into it.

      TSR01 - 2012-10-10 13:16

      @malcolm.james.macleod: well, salt is a natural antibacterial compound; why do you think its used widely as a preservative, antiseptic and for medical treatments in diluted saline solutions? It would be less risky to treat seawater for salt and what little remaining bacteria there is than to chemical-bomb bacteria-laden recycled water, not to mention the quality of the water itself is degraded by recycling in terms to the efficacy of the water molecules to sustain and hold mineral content with regard to it being decayed and broken down by excessive repeat processing. It would take many years for recycled water to reach such a state of detrimental quality, but it will happen inevitably. There is only so many times you can re-purify water with chemicals. P.S. In closing, I would also like to highlight that in recent years, due to failing government commitment (Thanks for nothing, ANC) to maintenance and infrastructure, water quality levels throughout South Africa have been on the decline for the past few years. Have you tried sampling your water recently? Its not what it used to be, or what it should be.

      malcolm.james.macleod - 2012-10-10 13:48

      @TSR01 - Thanks, but if you did not notice the above comment was made in jest...

      litha.luzipo - 2012-10-10 15:22

      @TSR01: did you really have to mention ANC in this. Water problem is a global threat and it needs you and me to do our part.

  • musawakhe.ngubane - 2012-10-10 11:26

    Go for it Cape Town. It's not new, we have been drinking such water from the rivers for so many years, nobody seemed to care. We survived, you'll survive too. This is interesting.

      jason.davidson.144 - 2012-10-10 14:58

      Are you blaming us for evolving to a point where we built dams and water purification plants so that we do not have to drink dirty river water that your neighbour just took a dump in? Then you sit infected with cholera with your hands out begging the west for medicine.

  • connie.mlonyeni - 2012-10-10 11:29

    OMG! why do they even have to say it? better if people dont know!

  • trevor.bush.9655 - 2012-10-10 11:33

    This is what happens when you give free water away and have the said infrastrature tapped into by millions who pay nothing, let industry run amok, don't build dams and don't maintain infrastracture...VIVA ANC givie a new meaning to SA going down the toilet. In the end, only the rich will be able to survive in this "new" country, poor will suffer more and more.

      TSR01 - 2012-10-10 13:17

      Very true, BlueSilver2012. The poor continue to suffer for the ANC's injustices.

  • frederick.cunliffe - 2012-10-10 11:35

    Every drop of water on the planet has been recycled for a loooong time!

      laura.rice.96995 - 2012-10-10 13:04

      Exactly!!! only something like 3% of the worlds water is drinkable and we have access to about 1% of this so what do people think they have been drinking.

  • angeliquev2 - 2012-10-10 11:43

    That is what should have happened in the first place. Recycling water is the way to go!

  • JodiAllemeier - 2012-10-10 11:51

    All the while old water systems are unutilised, resulting in rain water flwoing off the mountains in underground networks straight into the ocean... Reclaim Camissa.

  • MDEVAS - 2012-10-10 11:59

    I thought water we drink comes from the ocean.

  • janti.cloete - 2012-10-10 12:51

    In Windhoek we have been drinking recycled water for years, boosting with one of the best plants in the world....

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-10 12:57

      ... and all you ouks who drink Windhoek beer, guess what water is used... :-)

      Billy - 2012-10-10 17:24


  • christina.setloboko - 2012-10-10 16:56


  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-10 17:25

    What bs R7 to R12 per 1000L still less than a cent per liter...

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-10-10 17:27

    Sea water sounds more hygenic

  • lorna.sisusa - 2012-10-10 18:12

    That has been happening long time ago.. if you dont conserve environment expect something like this. Climate Justice is the only solution to this mayherm.

  • arne.verhoef - 2012-10-10 19:04

    Water has been recycled over and over again since the dawn of time, aint nothing wrong with that

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