The Water Research Commission (WRC) was established in terms of the Water Research Act (Act No 34 of 1971), following a period of serious water shortage. It was deemed to be of national importance to generate new knowledge and to promote the country’s water research purposefully, owing to the view held that water would be one of South Africa’s most limiting factors in the twenty-first century.
Below is a bibliography of the the many useful reports and manuals prepared by WRC on sanitation and wastewater treatment. These are available on the WRC website.
- WRC: Building Knowledge for SA’s Future……………….2
- KSA 3: Water Use and Waste Management…………….3
- Ecological Sanitation………………………………………………4
- Services Provision…………………………………………………….6
- Wastewater Treatment…………………………………………..18
- Education and Awareness……………………………………..26
A parliamentary committee wants to cancel a 550 million Rand (US$ 81.7 million) rural sanitation contract with an NGO for its failure to deliver services on time. The ministers of Public Works and of Human Settlements want to give the NGO, Independent Development Trust, a second chance.
The parliament’s human settlements portfolio committee wants to cancel the second and third phases of the Trust’s contract to build pit and flushing toilets in 25 rural municipalities. The Independent Development Trust was to have completed the first phase of its three-year contract, worth 100 million Rand (US$ 14.8 million) in April 2011, but it only spent 46 million Rand ((US$ 6.8 million) on 8368 pit toilets – a third of which were delivered after the deadline.
The committee plans to table a report in parliament calling for Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde to cancel the rest of the contract. Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale pleaded with the committee to give the development trust more time and not to hand the contract over to the private sector.
However, MPs told Sexwale that they had been trying for 10 months to get the trust to deliver and tender documents indicated that it had no experience in sanitation and should not have been given the contract..
Source: Anna Majavu, Times Live, 27 Jun 2011
Durban — It might seem unusual for a waste utility to be concerned with the goal of ending world hunger, but that’s part of the mission of the Water and Sanitation department in South Africa’s second largest city of Durban. AllAfrica’s Julie Frederikse spoke with Neil MacLeod, who heads this department for the municipality known by its Zulu name, eThekwini.
“Intensive agriculture requires fertilizers, whose main component is phosphorus, yet where does our phosphorus go after it goes into crops and is digested?” said eThekwini Municipality Water and Sanitation director Neil MacLeod. “Into a toilet. And then it goes into a treatment works, then into a river, and it gets washed into the sea.”
With an estimated 30 percent of household water used to flush Durban’s toilets – water which the city has paid to pump and purify – MacLeod sees flushing toilets as unsustainable technology. Like much of Africa, South Africa is water-scarce, with water restrictions expected soon for this city of 3.7 million, whose population is swelling by some 150,000 people per year.
MacLeod sees salvation in an alternative toilet that uses no water at all. Called the Urine Diverting (UD) toilet, it separates urine from faeces so that nutrients can be recovered and returned to the earth. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus – aka NPK 5:3:1 – is an excellent fertilizer for growing vegetables.
A new initiative in South Africa is testing practical, community-scale ways to use urine as a fertiliser. The initiative is part of new project funded by the Gates Foundation.
Urine-diverting dry toilet in Umlazi, near Durban. Photo: Eawag
After installing about 90 000 urine-diversion toilets in home gardens, the port city of Durban now wants to install 20-litre (quart) containers on 500 of the toilets to capture urine, which can be turned into fertiliser.
Although a news item about the initiative claimed that the municipality would be paying households about around R30 (US$ 4.40) for a week’s supply of urine, the project coordinator Bastian Etter from Eawag, says that this is “an invention of a journalist of Agence France Presse (AFP) and not the strategy of the eThekwini Municipality”. “Neither the eThekwini Municipality nor our research team has set up a compensation scheme for collected urine”, Mr. Etter said in an e-mail.
WRC – REVIEW OF SANITATION POLICY AND PRACTICE IN SOUTH AFRICA FROM 2001-2008.
Download Full-text (pdf)
Report to the Water Research Commission, 2010
A study conducted by DWAF (2005) to audit the sustainability of the sanitation projects implemented from 1994-2003 found that a significant number of these projects were not sustainable. This problem of poor sustainability could be due to a lack of common understanding and interpretation of the national sanitation policy by municipalities and other implementing agents.
The Water Research Commission initiated this study to examine the understanding and interpretation of the national sanitation policy and programme by municipalities and to identify aspects of the policy that were poorly understood and/or misinterpreted and to make recommendations for bridging the gap between policy and practice.
A young hippo has been shipped out of a Cape Town sewerage works, where he made his home after fleeing a nature reserve where he had clashed with his father.
The four-year-old nicknamed “Zorro” fled the Rondevlei Nature Reserve outside Cape Town in February 2009 for the lush grass and abundant water of the Cape Flats Waste Water Treatment Works (CFWWTW). He got his nickname due to the zigzag scar on his back, caused by his father’s tusks during fighting.
The Waste Water Treatment Works adjacent to Zeekoevlei and Rondevlei is part of the False Bay Coastal Park, a core area in the City’s Biodiversity Network. The hippos at Rondevlei are a keystone species in Rondevlei, one of the City’s 24 nature reserves.
Thieves had made off with part of the reserve’s fence, creating an opening for 1 200-kilo Zorro to escape.
Reserve staff put up an electric fence around 22 hectares to contain him around a water pan and baited a capture “boma” enclosure, said Dalton Gibbs of the city’s nature conservation department.
Once Zorro had entered the capture boma, staff loaded him into a crate and moved him to his new home, a private reserve in nearby Worcester.
“The natural cycle is the dominant male will chase out younger males out of the herd,” Gibbs said about the hippo’s escape. “It’s a fairly normal process.”
Zorro is not first hippo to have escaped from the Rondevlei Nature Reserve. In 2004 there was another escape artist, who was nicknamed … Houdini.
Zorro the hippo at the pans in Strandfontein. Photo: Shelley Christians
Source: Sapa-AFP, Cape Argus, 06 Jul 2010 ; City of Cape Town, 19 Feb 2009
Jan Habig is an independent civil engineer in South Africa. He is showing a group of civil society people from Southern African countries around in a new sanitation programme involving 1,000 toilets in Moretele Local Municpality in North West Province, a 90-minute drive out of Pretoria.
Mr. Habig is here as project manager for G.R. Makopo CC Construction that won a contract for the Cyferskuils Basic Sanitation Phase 2 project, involving 1,000 Amalooloo toilets. The company falls under the Upcoming Black Economic Empowerment companies programme to increase income from 250,000 Rand to the next level.
Mr. Habig advises the company on tender documents and cash flow programmes and checks the quality of work. He also has international health and safety accreditation. In an interview on the site with IRC’.s Dick de Jong he explained how decentralization of this sanitation programme works.
How is this programme funded?
“This programme is funded from the central Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) that comes through local municipalities. This comes with conditions. One third of the construction of the toilets has to be given to local contractors. It is part of a bigger programme of 4,000 new toilets in this area.”
How does this work out here?
“There are three local contractors involved with 10 teams of two women and four men each. They are paid 130 Rand [13 Euro] each per structure. On average a team does 2 ½ structure per day. There is 88,000 Rand in the budget for training of which 30,000 was used to train 20 local people for five days in brick laying. Other trainings that are still to come:
- orientation training for 10 Community Liaison Officers;
- orientation course for a Project Steering Committee that has been appointed, but is not yet operational;
- a basic street-by-street short hygiene course for households that includes explanations how to operate and maintain the toilets, including not throwing rubbish in the toilet, not using newspapers and showing how the raking of the feces goes when the pit is full.”
Not as dry as claimed
“The Amalooloo toilets we heard about and saw at the Betram company and at the new project site in the field are not as dry as claimed by the company. In the field we also saw that the construction of the upper part of toilet was not water tight and missed grips for the disabled. As we are also getting these toilets in Zambia I hope that you keep us informed about these problems on the ground”, Mr. Elisha N’gonomo, Director of a large civil society organization Village Water in Zambia, asked the South African participants on the last day of their Civil Society Learning Journey and Capacity Building Workshop in Roodeplaat, Pretoria, South Africa.
See the full story and pictures.