Ageing Power Stations Wasting Water

Ageing power stations are wasting vast amounts of water

The City of Johannesburg has suddenly become terribly concerned about water security, leading it to implement level 2 water restrictions.

Households must, the city says, immediately reduce water use by at least 15%. This means that households may not use hosepipes to wash cars or clean pavements, or use municipal water to fill swimming pools.

In addition, heavy-consuming households can expect a 10% to 30% increase in their water bills each month.

Little attention has been given to industry, agriculture or power generation.

These new rules have been set against a context where one small environmental justice organisation, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, has been demanding answers to the city’s irresponsible water use for months.

In fact, Earthlife has been demanding answers from the city to no avail, particularly on the amount of water used and wasted by the coal-fired Kelvin Power Station in Kempton Park, eastern Johannesburg.

Not only do ageing coal-fired power stations – such as Kelvin, which is one of the oldest in the country – use 45 million litres of water per hour, they are also the primary reason behind climate change.

Southern Africa is in the grips of a structural drought leading to agricultural loss, food price hikes, immigration, increased disease and increased unemployment.

It is a no-brainer then that the City of Johannesburg should examine the real culprit of water loss first: coal-fired power stations such as Kelvin.

Yet, the water use at Kelvin remains a mystery, even to the city itself. It appears that no one can, or is willing to, give Earthlife any answers.

In addition, Kelvin has a 20-year preferential price and water supply agreement with the city, which will last until 2021.

Earthlife has been campaigning for years for the City of Johannesburg to close the filthy Kelvin Power Station down for good, and to replace it with clean and sustainable renewable energy.

Recently, the environmental justice organisation, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, wrote to the City of Johannesburg demanding to know the following:

. Who is the current owner of the Kelvin Power Station?

. At what price does Kelvin sell electricity to City Power?

. What percentage of City Power’s electricity does Kelvin provide?

. What will the position be once the agreement between City Power and Kelvin terminates in 2021?

. At what price does Johannesburg Water sell water to Kelvin Power Station?

. How much water does Johannesburg Water supply to Kelvin?

. By how much does the City of Johannesburg subsidise Kelvin Power Station?

The City refused to answer the questions posed and insisted that the organisation make use of requests in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The act requests were made and the deadline for the city to respond was August 29. The city has subsequently requested more time to provide the information.

A lot of work needs to be done to educate South African people, and the people of Gauteng, on the true meaning of environmentalism.

South Africa is fast on track to becoming one of the most polluted countries in the world, and if citizens don’t look outside their own back yards first to protect their constitutional rights to live in an environment that is clean and not detrimental to their health, we are doomed.

Source – Fin24

The world needs to rethink the value of water

The value of water

Research led by Oxford University highlights the accelerating pressure on measuring, monitoring and managing water locally and globally. A new four-part framework is proposed to value water for sustainable development to guide better policy and practice.

The value of water for people, the environment, industry, agriculture and cultures has been long-recognised, not least because achieving safely-managed drinking water is essential for human life. The scale of the investment for universal and safely-managed drinking water and sanitation is vast, with estimates around $114B USD per year, for capital costs alone.

But there is an increasing need to re-think the value of water for a number of reasons:

  1. Water is not just about sustaining life, it plays a vital role in sustainable development. Water’s value is evident in all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, from poverty alleviation and ending hunger, where the connection is long recognised – to sustainable cities and peace and justice, where the complex impacts of water are only now being fully appreciated.
  2. Water security is a growing global concern. The negative impacts of water shortages, flooding and pollution have placed water related risks among the top 5 global threats by the World Economic Forum for several years running. In 2015, Oxford-led research on water security quantified expected losses from water shortages, inadequate water supply and sanitation and flooding at approximately $500B USD annually. Last month the World Bank demonstrated the consequences of water scarcity and shocks: the cost of a drought in cities is four times greater than a flood, and a single drought in rural Africa can ignite a chain of deprivation and poverty across generations.

Recognising these trends, there is an urgent and global opportunity to re-think the value of water, with the UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water launching a new initiative on Valuing Water earlier this year. The growing consensus is that valuing water goes beyond monetary value or price. In order to better direct future policies and investment we need to see valuing water as a governance challenge.

An international team led by Oxford University and partners across the world has published a new paper in Science in which they chart a new framework to value water for the Sustainable Development Goals. Putting a monetary value on water and capturing the cultural benefits of water are only one step. They suggest that valuing and managing water requires parallel and coordinated action across four priorities: measurement, valuation, trade-offs and capable institutions for allocating and financing water.

Lead author Dustin Garrick, University of Oxford, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment:”Our paper responds to a global call to action: the cascading negative impacts of scarcity, shocks and inadequate water services underscore the need to value water better. There may not be any silver bullets, but there are clear steps to take. We argue that valuing water is fundamentally about navigating trade-offs. The objective of our research is to show why we need to rethink the value of water, and how to go about it, by leveraging technology, science and incentives to punch through stubborn governance barriers. Valuing water requires that we value institutions.”

Co-author Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist, World Bank Water Practice:”We show that water underpins development, and that we must manage it sustainably. Multiple policies will be needed for multiple goals. Current water management policies are outdated and unsuited to addressing the water related challenges of the 21st century. Without policies to allocate finite supplies of water more efficiently, control the burgeoning demand for water and reduce wastage, water stress will intensify where water is already scarce and spread to regions of the world – with impacts on economic growth and the development of water-stressed nations.”

Co-Author Erin O’ Donnell, University of Melbourne:”2017 is a watershed moment for the status of rivers. Four rivers have been granted the rights and powers of legal persons, in a series of groundbreaking legal rulings that resonated across the world. This unprecedented recognition of the cultural and environmental value of rivers in law compels us to re-examine the role of rivers in society and sustainable development, and rethink our paradigms for valuing water.”

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-world-rethink.html#jCp

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Comments are closed.