Tag Archives: South Africa

Desalination may help Cape Town water crisis

“For months, Cape Town, a city of four million people, has been facing the doomsday scenario of taps running dry. The city’s Theewaterskloof Dam, a water reservoir which once supplied the city 50 percent of its supply, looks more like a desert area.” click here

Borehole Water Quality; Mahikeng, South Africa

Palamuleni L, Akoth M. Physico-Chemical and Microbial Analysis of Selected Borehole Waterin Mahikeng, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 Jul 23;12(8):8619-30. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120808619.

Groundwater is generally considered a “safe source” of drinking water because it is abstracted with low microbial load with little need for treatment before drinking. However, groundwater resources are commonly vulnerable to pollution, which may degrade their quality. An assessment of microbial and physicochemical qualities of borehole water in the rural environs of Mahikeng town, South Africa, was carried out. The study aimed at determining levels of physicochemical (temperature, pH, turbidity and nitrate) and bacteriological (both faecal and total coliform bacteria) contaminants in drinking water using standard microbiology methods. Furthermore, identities of isolates were determined using the API 20E assay. Results were compared with World Health Organisation (WHO) and Department of Water Affairs (DWAF-SA) water quality drinking standards. All analyses for physicochemical parameters were within acceptable limits except for turbidity while microbial loads during spring were higher than the WHO and DWAF thresholds. The detection of Escherichia coli, Salmonella and Klebsiella species in borehole water that was intended for human consumption suggests that water from these sources may pose severe health risks to consumers and is unsuitable for direct human consumption without treatment. The study recommends mobilisation of onsite treatment interventions to protect the households from further possible consequences of using the water.

Mvudi River Water Quality, South Africa

Edokpayi JN, Odiyo JO, Msagati TA, Potgieter N. Temporal variations in physico-chemical and microbiological characteristics of mvudi river, South Africa. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2015 Apr 14;12(4):4128-40. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120404128.

Surface water has been a source of domestic water due to shortage of potable water in most rural areas. This study was carried out to evaluate the level of contamination of Mvudi River in South Africa by measuring turbidity, electrical conductivity (EC), pH, concentrations of nitrate, fluoride, chloride, and sulphate. E. coli and Enterococci were analysed using membrane filtration technique. Average pH, EC and Turbidity values were in the range of 7.2-7.7, 10.5-16.1 mS/m and 1.3-437.5 NTU, respectively. The mean concentrations of fluoride, chloride, nitrate and sulphate for both the wet and the dry seasons were 0.11 mg/L and 0.27 mg/L, 9.35 mg/L and 14.82 mg/L, 3.25 mg/L and 6.87 mg/L, 3.24 mg/L and 0.70 mg/L, respectively. E. coli and Enterococci counts for both the wet and the dry seasons were 4.81 × 103 (log = 3.68) and 5.22 × 103 (log = 3.72), 3.4 × 103 (log = 3.53) and 1.22 × 103 (log = 3.09), per 100 mL of water, respectively. The count of E. coli for both seasons did not vary significantly (p > 0.05) but Enterococci count varied significantly (p < 0.001). All the physico-chemical parameters obtained were within the recommended guidelines of the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry of South Africa and the World Health Organization for domestic and recreational water use for both seasons except turbidity and nitrates. The microbiological parameters exceeded the established guidelines. Mvudi River is contaminated with faecal organisms and should not be used for domestic purposes without proper treatment so as to mitigate the threat it poses to public health.

Click here for paper (Open Source).

Household Water Treatment in Southern Africa Low-Income Communities

Mwabi J.K., Adeyemo F.E., Mahlangu T.O., Mamba B.B., Brouckaert B.M., Swartz C.D., Offringa G., Mpenyana-Monyatsi L., Momba M.N.B. Household water treatment systems: A solution to the production of safe drinking water by the low-income communities of Southern Africa. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 2011 36(14):1120-1128

One of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals is to reduce to half by 2015 the number of people, worldwide, who lack access to safe water. Due to the numerous deaths and illnesses caused by waterborne pathogens, various household water treatment devices and safe storage technologies have been developed to treat and manage water at the household level. The new approaches that are continually being examined need to be durable, lower in overall cost and more effective in the removal of the contaminants. In this study, an extensive literature survey was conducted to regroup various household treatment devices that are suitable for the inexpensive treatment of water on a household basis. The survey has resulted in the selection of four household treatment devices: the biosand filter (BSF), bucket filter (BF), ceramic candle filter (CCF) and the silver-impregnated porous pot filter (SIPP). The first three filters were manufactured in a Tshwane University of Technology workshop, using modified designs reported in literature. The SIPP filter is a product of the Tshwane University of Technology.

The performance of the four filters was evaluated in terms of flow rate, physicochemical contaminant (turbidity, fluorides, phosphates, chlorophyll a, magnesium, calcium and nitrates) and microbial contaminant (Escherichia coli, Vibrio cholerae, Salmonella typhimurium, Shigella dysenteriae) removals. The flow rates obtained during the study period were within the recommended limits (171l/h, 167l/h, 6.4l/h and 3.5l/h for the BSF, BF, CCF and SIPP, respectively). Using standard methods, the results of the preliminary laboratory and field studies with spiked and environmental water samples indicated that all filters decreased the concentrations of contaminants in test water sources. The most efficiently removed chemical contaminant in spiked water was fluoride (99.9%) and the poorest removal efficiency was noted for magnesium (26–56%). A higher performance in chemical contaminant removal was noted with the BF. For pathogenic bacteria, the mean percentage removals ranged between 97% and 100%.

Although the concentrations of most chemical parameters were within the recommended limits in raw surface water, poor removal efficiencies were recorded for all filters, with the poorest reduction noted with fluorides (16–48%). The average turbidity removals from surface water ranged between 90% and 95% for all filters. The highest bacterial removal efficiency was recorded by the SIPP (99–100%) and the lowest by the BF (20–45%) and the BSF (20–60%). Extensive experimental studies with various types of raw surface water will still determine the long-term performance of each filter, as well as the filters that can be recommended to the communities for household treatment of drinking water.

Public Perception of Drinking Water Safety in South Africa

Wright JA, Hong Y, Rivett U, Gundry SW. Public perception of drinking water safety in South Africa 2002-2009: a repeated cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2012, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p556-564

Background: In low and middle income countries, public perceptions of drinking water safety are relevant to promotion of household water treatment and to household choices over drinking water sources. However, most studies of this topic have been cross-sectional and not considered temporal variation in drinking water safety perceptions. The objective of this study is to explore trends in perceived drinking water safety in South Africa and its association with disease outbreaks, water supply and household characteristics.

Methods: This repeated cross-sectional study draws on General Household Surveys from 2002-2009, a series of annual nationally representative surveys of South African households, which include a question about perceived drinking water safety. Trends in responses to this question were examined from 2002-2009 in relation to reported cholera cases. The relationship between perceived drinking water safety and organoleptic qualities of drinking water, supply characteristics, and socio-economic and demographic household characteristics was explored in 2002 and 2008 using hierarchical stepwise logistic regression.

Results: The results suggest that perceived drinking water safety has remained relatively stable over time in South Africa, once the expansion of improved supplies is controlled for. A large cholera outbreak in 2000-02 had no apparent effect on public perception of drinking water safety in 2002. Perceived drinking water safety is primarily related to water taste, odour, and clarity rather than socio-economic or demographic characteristics.

Conclusion: This suggests that household perceptions of drinking water safety in South Africa follow similar patterns to those observed in studies in developed countries. The stability over time in public perception of drinking water safety is particularly surprising, given the large cholera outbreak that took place at the start of this period.

South Africa to address “equity” in water resources distribution

An equity enforcing mechanism is to be developed, focusing on access, or lack of it, to safe drinking water by poor historically-disadvantaged communities….click here for news article….

Agreement at Durban, South Africa UN climate conference doubtfull, world tour of fine dining to continue

Not reported in the press are murmurs coming out of Durban that a “Return-of-the-Living-Dead Kyoto” agreement might indeed be reached. Great sadness and wailing was heard, as attendees realized this would mean no more meetings at luxury hotels with gourmet meals, paid for by someone else, of course.

But wait, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says an agreement may be beyond reach for now.  To further stir up hope, he was also heard to say that “the future of our planet is at stake.” (Never mind the risk to the planet and our future posed by global economic depression and global wars….)

This brought hope to the ears of the global warmenistas….because that means more IPCC and climate meetings must be held……after all, the hotels are great and the gourmet food outstanding…..paid for by someone else, of course.

So, now all in Durban are happy once again.  They have full assurance that the world tour of fine dining and luxury hotels  (a.k.a. IPCC scam) will go on for years to come…….let’s see, where to next?

Oh, and certainly don’t consider ClimateGate I and II…..nothing to see there, just move along….

Click here for a news article perspective from up north….

China has other ideas….click here.