water

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when the waves hit cape town

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-08-20 09:09

Being a Capetonian, it’s crossed my mind more than once that our home might not survive the implications of global warming over the next 25 years, and that we might need a plan B to move to higher ground!

The Times published an article a couple of days ago that brings to mind the adage – safeguard the future by being prepared. If the worst case scenario of two-storey waves battering the city shoreline within the next 25 years, comes to pass, then we’ll have to be (prepared, or inland).

It is rather difficult, when faced with the list published by the Times – “this is what the sea would devour”, which includes, well, just about the entire coastline and much of Cape Town – not to laugh out loud with disbelief.

And it isn’t sensationalist journalism. The story...

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uk revives waterways, as fuel prices soar

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2008-08-13 09:06

Britain looks set for a renaissance of its waterways, as a direct result of the continued rise in fuel prices, growing traffic jams and environmental pressures. The long-neglected latticework of canals and rivers that were at the fore of the industrial revolution are undergoing a revival!

Apparently there is such a boom that shipping and barge companies have received more enquiries about transporting goods by water in the past 18 months than


greening it up – tues 25 mar 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-03-25 10:55

world water day fell on 22 March - we’ve highlighted a number of news items on water:

Sucking America dry for biofuels. To hear agribusiness boosters and politicians tell it, corn-based ethanol is a miraculous solution to the nation's hunger for liquid fuels. But as miracles go, it's not all that impressive. There is folly in turning water into fuel, and where America goes, others follow… [alternet]

The dilemma of bottled versus tap water. Studies have shown that global consumption of bottled water doubled between 1999 and 2004, reaching 41 billion gallons (154 billion litres) annually. In most cases bottled water is no healthier than tap water and it can be very expensive. About 10,000 times more expensive – never mind the unnecessary contribution to landfill of countless bottles. [talkgreen] via [hugg]

Clean water for all in Gauteng, but only by 2009. The Gauteng provincial government is "well on course" to supply all households in the province with clean water by the end of this year. The minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Lindiwe Hendricks, urges South Africans to use water sparingly to avoid a crisis in the future. [IOL]

What’s your water footprint? The climate crisis and water are inextricably linked. Access to water to drink, shower or flush our toilets may not always be as easy as ‘turning on the tap’. A new website, H2o conserve, has produced a water calculator that helps you measure how much water you use so that you can better understand your ‘water footprint’. [h2oconserve]

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sewage seepage – the water crisis continues

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-02-26 12:00

Sewage from scores of badly-run municipal treatment works is spilling into rivers across the country every day, raising fears about further outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and dysentery.

Tap water in the big cities remains among the safest in the world, but the quality of drinking water in many small towns has been described as "unacceptably poor" by local water engineers who will be presenting research findings at a conference in Spain next month.

Another major problem identified in research is the waste of millions of litres of clean drinking water as a result of leaks in municipal pipes or in poorly-maintained household toilets and taps.

One of the worst examples was Sebokeng township, where up to 80 percent of the municipal water supply was found to be leaking away.

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water affairs and wonderfonteinspruit

Submitted by turbosprout on Wed, 2008-02-06 08:43

The Business Times story published over the weekend placed the issue of safe drinking water on the nation's agenda, and in light of the electricity crisis it's quite right that this receives national attention.

Dead carp in Wonderfontein spruit: pic courtesy of Paul Neal (Dream Africa)Dead carp in Wonderfontein spruit: pic courtesy Paul Neal (Dream Africa)The Dept of Water Affairs and Forestry calmly assures us that there is no water crisis. But should we believe them based on a government track record of denial or blithe reassurance?

Dept of Safety and Security: Crime? No problem there, just lots of whingeing.
Dept of Health: HIV / Aids? Beetroot, garlic and the african potato to the rescue.
Dept of Minerals and Energy: Electricity? It should all be okay as long as our economic growth stays at 2%?

Reports of 43 percent of DWAF managed dams having safety issues sounds pretty critical to me. Or what do they propose a safe tolerance level is for a water-stressed country? 60%? 80%? 43% sounds bad enough and I'd like to know what is being done to fix the problems especially in light of Peter van Niekerk, chief director of water resources planning at DWAF, commenting, "we have constructed some dams but nothing to the same extent because of much greater use is the opportunity to manage demand." Sounds suspiciously like load shedding rationing to me.

More concerning is the contamination of ground water by radioactive mining waste in the Wonderfonteinspruit area. This is particularly worrying as the issue of uranium contamination...

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greening it up – tues 5 feb 2008

Submitted by sproutingforth on Tue, 2008-02-05 11:15

Is SA on the brink of a water crisis? South Africa is on the brink of a water contamination crisis, potentially as bad as the electricity fiasco of the past few weeks, according to reports. Is our government failing to effectively monitor and manage its vast infrastructure of dams, pipes, pumps and treatment facilities? Some alarming findings were reported by the [Times] that include waste water from mining operations that appears to have seeped into the country’s groundwater system. Yet, according to readers, only 8% of people polled on IOL believe their drinking water is unsafe. [IOL]

America is running dry. America is also on the brink of a water crisis. Scientists have been documenting significant changes in water flow in the western United States for the past 50 years. Now it has been found that to 60 percent of the changes in river flow, snow pack and winter air temperatures in the region during this period can be attributed to human-caused climate change. [telegraph]

London’s low emission zone. As of yesterday, most of Greater London will be ringed by 75 camera sites, automatically checking hundreds of thousands of registration numbers entering the city’s LEZ (low emission zone). The reason for the zone is to improve London’s air quality – the worst in the UK and among the poorest in Europe. It is said that half of all air pollution in London comes from transport. [bbc]

Greener alternative to cotton wool Many people don’t realise the environmental hazards of producing cotton wool. A large amount of agrochemicals are used to produce cotton. Per hectare, it uses a higher concentration of chemicals than any other crop - chemicals that end up in our water and the air that we breathe. But there are alternatives like these Bo Weevil cotton wool pads or make your own little washable cleaning pads that you can re-use, in similar fashion to these on hippyshopper.


smart living

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-12-12 13:30

The city of Cape Town has published a SMART living handbook as part of the city’s campaign to save water, cut power consumption, reduce and recycle waste, and save the earth. We think it’s great that Cape Town is putting its money where its mouth is, and actively promoting environmentally-friendly lifestyles!

At the moment, the city has only distributed copies of the handbook to their employees, but read further for an electronic copy of your own. Those employees who make the biggest energy and water savings will win prizes in the form of solar water heaters, grey water systems and worm bins.

The publication covers four major areas...


water – here today, controlled tomorrow

Submitted by sproutingforth on Mon, 2007-12-10 09:57

Water is a basic human right. Or is it? A disturbing article released in the Guardian yesterday seems to imply otherwise. Already, in Chochabamba, Bolivia’s third largest city, Bechtel, the US engineering giant, has taken over municipal water and increased bills to a level that the poorest cannot afford.

Water is now touted as the new oil – and shortages due to rising population, drought and increased demand by newly emergent middle classes in emerging economies, are turning water into a much sought after commodity. Oil today, water tomorrow...

Third world countries are going to feel it the most, largely because they are so vulnerable to first world interference under the guise of aid.

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river of flames and climate action

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-12-07 15:13

If you're in Cape Town tomorrow, just a reminder that the Black River needs your help before it spontaneously combusts.
Cuyahoga River: Regularly caught alight due to pollutionCuyahoga River: Regularly caught alight due to pollution
From a recent article on IOL:

The aptly-named Black River in Cape Town is so polluted it could catch fire, an environmental organisation warned on Thursday.

"High levels of E.coli [bacterium] and phosphorus are turning the Black River into a methane-gas-producing swamp, which poses severe health risks to humans," the group What-On-Earth-Is-Happening (WOE-H) said in a statement.

Rivers in other parts of the world with such high levels of pollution had burst into flames, "and the Black River could do the same unless urgent action is taken", it said.

You'll also get to see some local politicians and celebs in latex (gloves).

Details of the river cleanup event over here.

And if you're in Joburg there is a day of climate action going down at Rhodes Park to coincide with demonstrations on Climate Change taking place around the world.

The event is hosted by the GreenHouse Project and will include a Q&A answer workshop on climate change, drumming sessions, poetry readings, craft made from recycled materials and demonstrations of renewable energy and energy efficiency appliances.

Check out more details over here


awareness and action!

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2007-12-06 11:21

The first step down the road of making a difference is awareness: if you don't know what's happening out there you can't act. At urban sprout we try to raise awareness in a few different ways - news and opinion articles, green guides, a directory of positive options and details of upcoming events. We've been sending out details of events in our newsletter for the last few months, but today we launch a green events calendar to make this information more visible.

So without further ado, here are some important happenings in the next few days you'll want to support:

Safeage talk: Learning from the South American experience

The most common belief about genetically engineered crops is that they are necessary to feed our burgeoning world population, but when big business takes over small scale family farming, it results in the concentration of land ownership, the destruction of peasant economies and indigenous crops, malnutrition, urban migration, increased poverty and crime.

Join Safeage and Javiera Rulli tonight at the Portobello Restaurant, Long Str, Cape Town as she explains the social and environmental situation of South America due to the expansion of Round Up Ready soy monocultures.

Clean-up of Black River

Black River testing: Pic: SA Mercury Assessment ProgramBlack River testing: Pic: SA Mercury Assessment ProgramCape Town's Black River is in dire need of a clean-up and this Saturday, 8 December, local citizen group What On Earth is Happening (WOE) will lead a massive campaign, backed by the City of Cape Town, celebrities, other environmental and corporate partners to clean up the Black River in one of its most polluted stretches close to where the N2 connects with the M5. This is a great opportunity to meet up with other like minded people and be part of a solution. Positive action is very empowering!

While You Were Sleeping screening: Uranium Road

If you're still sitting on the fence about nuclear power in South Africa and the PBMR this is the movie to see. Uranium Road lift's the lid on the closed world of nuclear in SA revealing secrets and greed. Uranium Road is a 53 minute documentary, based on the book by Dr David Fig.

Take a look at our calendar view of events here

And if you know of any upcoming green, organic, enviro events be sure to let us know


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