Special Issue: Reflections on Water Management in South Africa
Setting the Scene—Hydropolitics and the Development of the South African Economy
ENGAGING A WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY: SYNCHRONICITY BETWEEN A REGIONAL RIVER CONSERVATION INITIATIVE AND BROADER WATER LAW REFORM IN SOUTH AFRICA (pp. 329-343)
H.C. Biggsa, C.M. Breenb and C.G. Palmerc
aSouth African National Parks; bCentre for Environment, Agriculture and Development, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville, South Africa; cInstitute for Water and Environmental Resource Management, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Contact: H.C. Biggs, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: This paper describes how processes used in environmental conservation efforts for rivers, with emphasis on those in the Kruger National Park Rivers Research initiative, interacted with water law reform processes in South Africa designed to balance resource protection and use sustainably. The paper uses complementary frameworks from resilience and business management theory to analyze progress and synchronicity. A long phase of preparation and sensing by ecologists, and an overwhelming drive for equity once democratization began, allowed for sustainability issues to successfully link the two processes during a short window of opportunity. Such synergies are unpredictable, and cannot be fully planned in advance. Ongoing sensing strategies, visionary leadership and serendipity are crucial. A difficult implementation phase lies ahead and the paper suggests actions and processes that might assist.
THE PLACE WHERE THE SUN RISES: AN APPLICATION OF IWRM AT THE VILLAGE LEVEL (pp. 345-356)
J. Goldin, R. Rutherford and D. Schoch, African Water Issues Research Unit (AWIRU), University of Pretoria Water Institute, Pretoria, South Africa
Abstract: The multi-dimensional approach to poverty, with specific reference to the Capability Approach, is a useful development framework that can be used to consider development achievements in the water sector. Drawing on notions of social justice and human capabilities, the case study develops the argument that the enhanced capabilities of self-respect, empowerment and agency are critical attributes that enable individuals to gain control over their social and physical environments. The discussion in the study considers the practical application of IWRM at a village level, Mpumalanga Province (South Africa), within a broader development framework where enhanced capabilities contribute not only to improved human development but also to improved management of the ecosystem.
MANAGING WATER SCARCITY TO ENCOURAGE SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA (pp. 357-369)
Jason Scott Hallowesa, Andrew James Pottb and Max DöCkelc
aClear Pure Water, Northriding, South Africa; bClear Pure Water, Cascades, South Africa; cStilbaai, South Africa
Contact: Jason Scott Hallowes, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The social and political transformation that occurred in South Africa has resulted in a new dispensation which requires a paradigm shift in the allocation, management and operation of water resources. The mandate is to allocate, manage and operate water resources in order to obtain the optimal balance of equitable, efficient and sustainable water use in catchments. In this paper the concept of Fractional Water Allocation and Capacity Sharing (FWACS) is explored as a method of allocating and managing water entitlements. The concept is introduced for its potential to encourage water market mechanisms while ensuring that social (equity) and sustainability requirements are achieved. The FWACS system is presented as framework in which water use efficiency can be obtained in the context of water scarcity in South Africa as well as many other countries.
TRANSBOUNDARY WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN SOUTHERN AFRICA: MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF JOINT PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT IN THE ORANGE RIVER BASIN (pp. 371-383)
Pieter S.V.H. Heyns, Marian J. Patrick, and Anthony R. Turton
aHIWAC – Heyns International Water Consultancy, Windhoek, Namibia; bCSIR-NRE, South Africa
Contact: Pieter S.V.H. Heyns, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: The joint management of shared water resources in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is contributing to regional integration, socio-economic development, poverty alleviation and the protection of vital ecosystems. The SADC Protocol on Shared Watercourses is an instrument of international water law that entered into force in 2003. The overall objective of the Protocol is to foster closer cooperation between the SADC states for the coordinated management, protection and utilization of shared watercourses through the establishment of river basin organizations. Therefore, it is playing a pivotal role in guiding the establishment of institutional structures capable of jointly managing the scarce water resources in Southern Africa. The Orange River is one of the international watercourse systems in the SADC and of strategic importance to South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana, making it an excellent case study in the evolution of joint river management and international water law.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE IN TRANSBOUNDARY RIVERS: AN ANALYSIS OF TREATY FLEXIBILITY ON THE ORANGE-SENQU RIVER BASIN (pp. 385-400)
Elizabeth J. Kistina and Peter J. Ashtonb
aDepartment of International Development, St. John’s College, Oxford University, Oxford, UK; bCSIR—Natural Resources and the Environment, Pretoria, South Africa
Contact: Elizabeth J. Kistin, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Continuously changing patterns of water flow and utilization in the Orange-Senqu River basin hamper effective management of shared water resources, and the international agreements and institutions established for this basin must be equipped to recognize and respond to such changes. A review of international agreements and in-depth interviews with water managers throughout the Orange-Senqu basin, reveal a variety of flexibility mechanisms embedded within the existing treaties. Key to the process of adaptation are the broad institutional mandates that enable existing Commissions to recognize the need for change over time and advise the parties to adapt accordingly. While the existing institutions in the Orange-Senqu basin are young and have not been fully tested, the treaties do not restrict the adaptive capacity of the parties to manage water resources.
SECURING WATER QUALITY FOR LIFE (pp. 401-415)
J. Hattingha and M. Claassenb
aEnvironmental Management Department, Eastern Platinum, Ifafi, South Africa; bCSIR: Natural Resources and the Environment, Pretoria, South Africa
Contact: J. Hattingh, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: Most people tend to focus on the visible part of water. Therefore, water quality has been undervalued in water management, with people often not having the necessary understanding and knowledge to manage water quality effectively. Policies and strategies also tend to give more attention to managing quantity. This paper highlights the legislative principles of equity, efficiency and sustainability in the context of water resource management in South Africa. It provides two examples of practical implementation of these principles from a water quality perspective and highlights the challenges relating to the realization of these principles in practice.
MANAGEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS FROM COAL MINING IN THE UPPER OLIFANTS RIVER CATCHMENT AS A FUNCTION OF AGE AND SCALE (pp. 417-431)
Philip Hobbs, Suzan H.H. Oelofse and Jeanette Rascher, CSIR Natural Resources and the Environment, Pretoria, South Africa
Contact: Philip Hobbs, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Effective water resource governance in a water scarce environment such as South Africa is a strategic issue in national sustainable development priorities. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is one of the largest liabilities of the mining industry due to its inherent threat to water resources, human health and the environment. Against the background of evolving water governance in South Africa, three examples are explored to reflect the management of AMD in the upper Olifants River catchment. The Brugspruit Water Pollution Control Works shows the scale of historic liabilities faced by the state, as well as the challenge of effectively addressing AMD within a resource-poor environment. The Controlled Discharge Scheme takes advantage of the natural assimilative capacity of the upper Olifants River system during high flow conditions to effect the controlled discharge of AMD. The Emalahleni Water Reclamation Plant exemplifies the successful initiative by large and well-resourced mining houses to achieve engineered sustainable mine water management.
RECOVERY OF DRINKING WATER AND BY-PRODUCTS FROM GOLD MINE EFFLUENTS (pp. 433-450)
Solly Motaunga,b, Jannie Mareea, Marinda De Beerb, Lucky Bologoa,b, Dieks Theronc and Jacobin Baloyib
aTshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa; bNatural Recourses and the Environment Operating Unit, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa; cSulphide Tech, Pretoria, South Africa
Contact: Jannie Maree, e-mail: email@example.com
Abstract: South Africa is a water constrained country with a large mining industry. Effluents from the mining industry, which is rich in calcium sulphate, resulted in salination of the limited amount of surface water. South Africa is also a large importer of sulphur because it is required for the manufacture of sulphuric acid. It is argued that importation of sulphur can be replaced by recovering it as a by-product during treatment of sulphate-rich effluents. The removal of acid, metals and sulphate from mine water was assessed using the CSIR ABC (Alkali-Barium-Calcium) Desalination process. The CSIR ABC Desalination process was used for neutralization and removal of the total dissolved solids content from 7 600 to 400 mg/l. Metals were removed effectively through precipitation with CaS or Ca(HS)2. The latter compound had a high solubility with higher metal removal rates compared to CaS. Sulphate remained in solution during metals precipitation with sulphide. The rate of sulphate removal during gypsum crystallization was influenced by the gypsum seed crystal content. The rate of sulphate removal during BaCO3 treatment was influenced by pH, CaCO3 solids and BaCO3 solid concentration. Ca(HS)2 was produced from CaS by passing CO2 through a CaS slurry. Further CO2 additions resulted in H2S-stripping. BaSO4 and CaCO3 were converted simultaneously to BaS and CaO2, respectively. The optimum temperature was 1050oC. The cost of raw materials for the treatment of water with a TDS content of 7 600 mg/l amounted to R2.21/cubic metre (m3). The potential value of the water and by-products amounted to R11.10/m3 (US$1.00 ¼ ZAR7.60).
INSTITUTIONAL LINKAGES AND ACID MINE DRAINAGE: THE CASE OF THE WESTERN BASIN IN SOUTH AFRICA (pp. 451-462)
J.E. Cobbing, Water Geosciences Consulting, Pretoria, South Africa
Abstract: South African environmental policy is in the process of change, in response to new legislation. Groundwater is now protected by law as an asset owned by all South Africans. A lack of capacity (either in terms of technical personnel, or financial resources) is often blamed for those situations where groundwater management does not meet the new national standards. The example of acid mine drainage (AMD) near Krugersdorp in South Africa is used to argue that challenges in addressing groundwater problems may be more related to issues of institutional and stakeholder cooperation and coordination, rather than a simple lack of resources. The Krugersdorp AMD problem remains severe today, despite 10 years of various efforts to resolve it with a relative abundance of resources. An honest assessment of the way in which institutions cooperate and plan to tackle such problems may be needed if unnecessary cost is to be avoided.
WEAKNESSES IN ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION IN SOUTH AFRICA: A HISTORICAL GLANCE ON THE WEST RAND (GAUTENG PROVINCE) (pp. 463-475)
Elize Sonja Van Eeden, School of Basic Sciences, North-West University, South Africa
Abstract: In essence, this paper aims to provide a historical overview of some weaknesses in the taking of actions (such as environmental management), and/or the lack of achieving progress after having taken action. The process of environmental conservation in the West Rand, with specific reference to the Merafong municipal area is discussed. Merafong is situated in the Gauteng Province. Decades ago the area featured a number of natural springs of which the Wonderfontein Spruit (WFS) is one. WFS is close to several gold mines in the Merafong, Mogale City and Randfontein areas. It is also regarded as one of the most complex catchments in South Africa. Since the start of goldmine production (1930s) uranium (and thus the daughter product radium)—as part of the mining process—has settled in the sediment of the WFS. Although voices of concern have featured prominently since the 1960s, no extraordinary environmental management action is recorded in history. Bibliographic sources of the WFS currently amount to over 5000 entries. Despite this impressive production especially resulting from research, reports and whistle blowing, in the past 50 years the area was exposed to limited and insufficient actions of environmental management. As a consequence a process of pollution and radiation exposure continued in ignorance of the facing dangers. Pollution poses a considerable hazard to human health and calls for urgent action to be taken. This paper explores the history since the early 20th century of the absence of, or weak and ineffective, environmental monitoring and management. It is suggested that the reason for this can be found in the priority given to the contribution of gold mining to economic growth, at the expense of the environment and people’s well being. At present the challenge for government and environmental experts/activists is to seriously find solutions together in order to at least support ideas that will contribute towards stabilizing the WFS environment. More funds for research on the health status of WFS inhabitants should also be considered to assure proactive environmental management control, and to provide some form of support to at least the economically active injured population.
PROTECTING A VULNERABLE GROUNDWATER RESOURCE FROM THE IMPACTS OF WASTE DISPOSAL: A SOUTH AFRICAN WASTE GOVERNANCE PERSPECTIVE (pp. 477-489)
Suzanna H.H. Oelofse, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa
Abstract: The underlying causes of groundwater pollution from waste disposal on land could be related back to fragmented legislation, ineffective policy, enforcement, education, capacity or even skill of landfill operators. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry has the mandate to protect South Africa’s water resources, while the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is responsible for integrated pollution and waste management, including authorization of waste management facilities. Mining waste, on the other hand, fall within the mandate of the Department of Minerals and Energy. Legislation administered by all three departments contains clauses addressing waste management. This paper critically evaluates successes and or failure of the legislation, policies and minimum requirements to protect the South African vulnerable groundwater resources from the impact of waste management practices.
Out of Poverty: What Works When Traditional Approaches Fail, edited by Paul Polak, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, 2008