Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 42 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Paradigms and theories in water governance: The case of South Africa's National Water Resource Strategy, Second Edition</b>]]> This paper indicates the influence of paradigms and theories on the development of South Africa's National Water Resource Strategy, Second Edition. Five paradigms exist: positivism, postpositivism, interpretivism/constructivism, critical theories and the participatory paradigm. I use the PULSE³ framework for analysis that I developed to analyse the NWRS2. I found that positivism is the dominant paradigm influencing the NWRS2. I furthermore analyse the strategy through two alternative theories: agential power and the ambiguity theory of leadership. These theories are interpretivist/constructivist type theories. My argument is for the integration of paradigms through the utilisation of analytic eclecticism. In light of positivism's dominance, I conclude that water research can be more innovative through the integration of paradigms and alternative theories. <![CDATA[<b>Efficiency evaluation of urban and rural municipal water service authorities in South Africa: A data envelopment analysis approach</b>]]> In recent years the local governments in South Africa have faced numerous public protests with regard to service delivery and particularly the provision of basic services such as water and sanitation. In response, South Africa has introduced benchmarking systems (Blue Drop, Green Drop) to improve the quality of potable water and sanitation services. These systems have seen some success; however, the efficiency with which these water services are provided is yet to be assessed. This study uses data envelopment analysis (DEA) to evaluate the efficiency with which several South African water service authorities (WSAs), including both metropolitan and local municipalities, provide water services to the public in both urban and rural areas. <![CDATA[<b>A study of seasonal effects on metal-NOM interactions and the impact of CaCO<sub>3</sub> precipitation potentials using Visual MINTEQ, in raw and cooling water</b>]]> This paper reports on a study of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation potentials of cooling water (CW) at Eskom power stations. It is important to understand the complexation reaction between calcium and dissolved organic carbon (Ca-DOC) because the natural organic matter (NOM) affects the precipitation potentials of CaCO3. Secondly, it is necessary to understand the nature of the organic matter in the cooling and raw water. This study was carried out in raw and cooling water samples collected from Lethabo and Kriel power stations. These power stations obtain their cooling water from the Vaal River and Usuthu schemes, respectively. The DOC concentration in both water systems was higher in winter (little/no rainfall) as compared to spring (more rainfall). Specific ultraviolet absorption (SUVA) was calculated for the raw and cooling water for both stations. The SUVA results obtained for the raw water (RW) indicated that the NOM had a high degree of aromaticity (humic substances), whereas for the recycled CW the NOM present was found to be less aromatic. The Visual MINTEQ data for the winter sampling indicated that both Lethabo and Kriel were supplied by raw water that was under-saturated with respect to CaCO3, with saturation indices (SI) of -0.29 and -0.43, respectively. In addition, the % Ca-DOC in the raw water at Lethabo was 2.01 compared to 3.08 in the raw water at the Kriel plant. Therefore this study gives an indication that % Ca-DOC is one of the factors that affect the CaCO3 precipitation potentials. The difference in SUVA-254 values for both stations has been identified and requires further investigation. The SUVA values help in identifying the type of fractions that make up the NOM. The interaction between calcium/magnesium and NOM determines the potential for CaCO, to form scale in condenser tubes carrying cooling water in the power generation plants at Eskom. <![CDATA[<b>Understanding farmers' preferences for wastewater reuse frameworks in agricultural irrigation: Lessons from a choice experiment in the Western Cape, South Africa</b>]]> Wastewater has emerged as an alternative source of water. Since the agricultural sector remains the largest water user world-wide, it is the main potential user of treated wastewater. However, while there are trade-offs in using wastewater, it may be the only option in water-scarce regions. South Africa has included water reuse as a policy option; hence the aim of this study is to understand farmers' preferences regarding water reuse frameworks for irrigation. A choice modelling approach was applied to identify the elements defining these frameworks and to quantify their relative importance amongst farmers in the agricultural hinterland of Cape Town. The findings suggest that water reuse is acceptable to farmers in the area. Furthermore, they prefer options that guarantee good quality water and low levels of restrictions on use practices. Due to low trust in water service providers, farmers are willing to pay for a privately-managed scheme for water reuse, which suggests that the management model for implementing such schemes is important. <![CDATA[<b>Leachability of metals from gold tailings by rainwater: An experimental and geochemical modelling approach</b>]]> Mine leachates from gold tailings impoundments usually contain elevated concentrations of metals and sulphates that impact negatively on water quality. This study was aimed at assessing the leachability of such metals from tailings by rainwater. Oxidised and unoxidised tailings were leached experimentally and through simulations using the PHREEQC geochemical modelling code. The results revealed that the majority of readily leachable metals were held in secondary mineral phases, mainly sulphates. A good agreement between experimental and modelling techniques was obtained, indicating the potential use of geochemical modelling in future metal release studies for the site. A list of reactive minerals for the tailings material was compiled. These minerals may or may not be present in the tailings; however, the list provides a means of estimating future reactivity or bulk metal release from the tailings. <![CDATA[<b>Numerical study of junction-angle effects on flow pattern in a river confluence located in a river bend</b>]]> The effect of main channel curvature on the flow pattern in river junctions is a complex and important issue. The 3-dimensional flow pattern in a river bend with a lateral or tributary channel is not only affected by the centrifugal force and pressure gradient but is also affected by the tributary channel's momentum. Understanding this phenomenon requires extensive research: in this study the effect of 4 tributary junction angles, placed at a 45° angle from the beginning of the bend, is studied using SSIIM1 software. The effect of the junction angle on the vertical and transverse velocity profile, water level changes in the main channel, bed shear-stress distribution and secondary flow strength were evaluated. The results showed that by increasing the junction angle from 30° to 115° the streamwise velocity in the vicinity of the centre line and the inner wall of the bend increases. Increasing the junction angle also increases the separation zone dimensions, maximum bed shear stress, difference between the upstream and downstream water level in the junction and the secondary flow strength. <![CDATA[<b>Acute and chronic effects of acidic pH on four subtropical frog species</b>]]> Acidic precipitation is implicated as a possible cause of global amphibian decline. Even protected areas such as Kruger National Park receive acid rain which may lead to possible negative effects on the park's natural amphibian populations. We conducted acute (LC50) and chronic acid tolerance bioassays on embryos and tadpoles of four frog species found in the park, i.e., Chiromantis xerampelina (Southern Foam Nest Frog), Pyxicephalus edulis (African Bullfrog), Amietophrynus maculatus (Flat-backed Toad) and Hildebrandtia ornata (Ornate Frog), using survival, deformities and growth as endpoints. Chronic exposure pH-values were selected based on the results of the acute assays. Trimmed Spearman-Karber LC50s were 4.07, 4.55, 3.75 and 3.747 for C. xerampelina, P. edulis, A. maculatus and H. ornata, respectively, and were all below the pHs in the natural ponds of the KNP. For chronic exposures tadpole size decreased and tadpole deformities increased with decreasing pH. Metamorphosis of tadpoles was also delayed by increasing acidity. In conclusion, the current buffering capacity of water bodies, which serve as habitat for amphibians, negates the effects of decreasing pH from acid precipitation. <![CDATA[<b>Climate influences on upper Limpopo River flow</b>]]> This study demonstrates how the regional climate affects river flow in the upper Limpopo Valley of southern Africa (21-24.5S, 26-30E). The catchment basin receives inflow from the Crocodile, Marico, Mahalapse and Lotsane Rivers, and lies on the eastern fringe of the Kalahari plateau, known for water-deficit conditions. Different ways to represent the surface water balance are compared. The annual cycle of gains from precipitation (P) spikes upward in late summer (Jan-Mar), while losses from evaporation have a broad peak in early summer (Oct-Dec). Different formulations of the surface water balance yield a range of values from -0.21 to -1.69 mm/day, depending on how evaporation is quantified. An analysis of global climatic influences on the Limpopo River found that high flow coincides with Pacific La Nina, low pressure over the central Atlantic and local upper easterly winds that draw tropical moisture from the Mozambique Channel. There is little trend in Limpopo River flow during the study period 1959-2014; however, CMIP5 model projections exhibit a downtrend in the surface water balance. A new insight is that evaporation losses are well represented by sensible heat flux in semi-arid environments. <![CDATA[<b>Fate, behaviour, and implications of ZnO nanoparticles in a simulated wastewater treatment plant</b>]]> Increased use of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) has resulted in their entry into municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as their final sinks. However, the adverse impact of ENPs on the bacterial activity in the activated sludge WWTPs is not yet well understood, despite their increased release into such systems. In this study, the impacts on WWTPS associated with the disposal of zinc oxide (ZnO) ENPs was investigated using a simulated WWTP developed as per the prescribed Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 303A) specifications. Analyses were done to determine zinc concentrations at various stages of the setup, mainly in the raw wastewater and treated effluent, using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The results obtained indicated low levels of zinc residue (about 50-200 μg/L) in the treated effluent compared to relatively high concentrations of Zn in the sludge (about 3 000 mg/kg). Results reported herein imply precipitation of ZnO ENPs during wastewater treatment processes and hence its high levels in the sludge. The presence of solid Zn in the sludge was determined using X-ray diffraction spectroscopy (XRD). Overall, no significant impact of ZnO ENPs on the performance of the simulated WWTP was observed, in terms of the removal levels of chemical oxygen demand (COD) during the treatment process <![CDATA[<b>A preliminary fish survey of the estuaries on the southeast coast of South Africa, Kayser's Beach - Kei Mouth: A comparative study</b>]]> A basic ichthyofaunal and physico-chemical survey of estuaries on the southeast coast of South Africa from Kayser's Beach to Kei Mouth was undertaken during September and October 1996. Twenty-eight (28) estuaries have been identified along this stretch of coastline, and these were grouped into three types: small (<10 ha) predominantly closed estuaries, moderate to large (&gt; 10 ha) predominantly closed estuaries, and predominantly open estuaries. Multivariate analyses revealed significant differences between estuarine types both in terms of their physico-chemical characteristics and fish communities. These features were consistent with those reported in other parts of the south and southeast coast. Overall, predominantly closed estuaries had a lower species diversity than predominantly open estuaries and smaller systems had a lower species diversity than moderate to large systems. Although differences were observed between estuarine types, most systems provided important habitat for a number of estuarine-dependent marine species as well as resident species, which were often recorded in high numbers. Many of these species were also endemic, which further emphasises the importance of these estuaries in maintaining ichthyofaunal diversity in the region. This survey represents one of the few fish surveys undertaken along this little-studied section of coastline. <![CDATA[<b>A test of the Lake Habitat Survey method in Cleveland Reservoir and Lake Chivero (Manyame River Basin, Zimbabwe)</b>]]> The Lake Habitat Survey (LHS) method has only been applied once in a tropical African reservoir and could potentially be a useful tool for hydromorphological impact assessments. This study (October 2012) tested the application of the LHS method to two Zimbabwean reservoirs, Cleveland and Chivero, which are impacted differently by human activities within their catchments with varying levels of physical impacts and lakeshore use. The Lake Habitat Quality Assessment (LHQA) and Lake Habitat Modification Score (LHMS) were used to assess the habitat quality and the magnitude of human impact on the reservoirs. Cleveland Reservoir LHQA (78 out of 112) and LHMS (16 out of 42) scores are indicative of relatively low human pressure (e.g. angling and canoeing). Results show that although Cleveland Reservoir is coming under increasing anthropogenic pressure, it does not appear to suffer from major alien plant invasion as compared to Lake Chivero, which scored 62/112 and 32/42 for the LHQA and LHMS, respectively. There were no significant differences between the numbers of vegetation layers in the riparian vegetation of the two reservoirs. However, there were significant differences in the number of macrophyte species and shoreline/riparian pressures between the two reservoirs. In conclusion, the use of the LHS can better enhance quality and reliability of lake hydromorphological assessments in tropical systems, where such an investigation is required to support decision making, after adaptations of the method have been made, i.e., inclusion of catchment impacts on lakes and reservoirs in LHS scoring metrics. <![CDATA[<b>The major and trace element chemistry of fish and lake water within major South African catchments</b>]]> Chemical elements in lake water are incorporated into fish tissues through bioconcentration and biomagnification. Lake water and fish tissue samples from 23 lakes, located within 4 major South African catchments, were analysed to investigate the link between element concentrations in lake water and otolith, fin spine, muscle, liver and gill tissues. The comparison is complicated by the seasonal variation in water chemistry as well as the large natural variation between individual fish within a lake. Comparisons between fish from different lakes can also only be done within the same species, which may not occur within all the lakes within the project area. This may be further complicated by erratic anthropogenic contamination. It is therefore more successful to use inter-element ratios for comparison than absolute element concentrations. Using the Sr/Ca elemental ratio, a species-specific correlation was identified between lake water, otolith, fin spine and gill tissue samples. The best discrimination between fish species was achieved using a Na/Ca versus Mg/Ca elemental ratio diagram of gill tissues. The best discrimination between fish from different lakes was achieved using a Ba/Mg versus Sr/Mg elemental ratio diagram for fin spine tissue. <![CDATA[<b>Model simulations of rainfall over southern Africa and its eastern escarpment</b>]]> Rainfall simulations over southern and tropical Africa in the form of low-resolution Atmospheric Model Intercomparison Project (AMIP) simulations and higher resolution National Centre for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) reanalysis downscalings are presented and evaluated in this paper. The model used is the conformal-cubic atmospheric model (CCAM), a variable-resolution global atmospheric model. The simulations are evaluated with regards to rainfall totals, spatial distribution, seasonality and inter-annual variability. Since both Global Circulation Models (GCMs) and Regional Climate Models (RCMs) are known to have relatively large biases and shortcomings in simulating rainfall over the steep eastern escarpment of southern Africa and in particular Lesotho, the paper has a focus on evaluating model performance over these regions. It is shown that in the reanalysis simulations the model realistically represents the seasonal cycle in rainfall. However, the AMIP simulations are prone to the model overestimating rainfall totals in spring. The spatial distribution of rainfall is simulated realistically; however rainfall totals are significantly overestimated over the escarpment areas of both southern Africa and East Africa. When nudged within the observed circulation patterns of the reanalysis data, the model is capable of realistically simulating inter-annual rainfall variability over the eastern parts of southern Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Potable water use of residential consumers in the Cape Town metropolitan area with access to groundwater as a supplementary household water source</b>]]> The potable water use recorded by 3 579 residential consumer water meters in Cape Town, South Africa, was analysed as part of this research. The focus was on selected residential properties in serviced areas, with additional private access to groundwater as a supplementary household water source. Private consumers in South Africa are not normally required to report on, or meter, groundwater use. The research team analysed records of an extensive, compulsory registration process for supplementary on-site water sources that was introduced by the City of Cape Town during the prolonged drought between 2004 and 2005. The main objective of this research was to determine the average annual water demand of residential properties serviced via the potable water distribution system, with additional registered access to a supplementary on-site groundwater source. Geo-referencing was employed to determine the approximate coordinate of each property, with subsequent one-by-one verification of each address. The data set initially contained 4 487 properties, but after filtering and verification 3 579 consumers remained in the data set for further analyses. The unique property code was identified for each verified property in order to link the attributes of consumers with access to on-site groundwater sources to their corresponding water meter records, so that the potable water demand for these stands could be analysed. The annual average water demand of the properties was subsequently obtained and analysed for two separate periods, namely, 2010 and 2014. The water use, categorised according to stand size, was similar for both periods. The results showed that consumers with access to groundwater used only about 65% of the estimated average annual water demand when compared to applicable water demand guidelines. <![CDATA[<b>A preliminary investigation of the water use efficiency of sweet sorghum for biofuel in South Africa</b>]]> Sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) has been recognized globally as a potential biofuel crop for ethanol production. Sweet sorghum is a drought-tolerant crop that is widely adapted to different environmental growing conditions. The aim of this study was to determine the water use efficiency (utilisable yield per unit amount of water used) of drip-irrigated sweet sorghum (variety Sugargraze) under two different climatic conditions in South Africa. The sweet sorghum trials were conducted at Ukulinga research farm (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg) and Hatfield experimental farm (University of Pretoria, Pretoria), South Africa. Field trials were conducted in two successive seasons, viz., 2010/11 and 2011/12. Seasonal water use was estimated using eddy covariance and surface renewal methods. Fresh and dry aboveground biomass yield, stalk yield and stalk Brix % were measured at final harvest. Theoretical ethanol yield was calculated from fresh stalk yield and Brix %. Water use for the two growing seasons was 415 mm at Ukulinga and 398 mm at Hatfield. The ethanol water use efficiency (WUE) values for the sweet sorghum at Ukulinga were 0.27 and 0.60 L-m-3 for 2010/11 and 2011/12 growing seasons, respectively. The ethanol WUE estimate of the sweet sorghum at Hatfield was 0.53 L-m-3 for the 2010/11 season and 0.70 L-m-3 for the 2011/12 growing season. WUE estimates of the sweet sorghum crop were higher for Hatfield compared to Ukulinga research farm. The results from this study showed that the WUE of sweet sorghum was sensitive to plant density. The WUE values confirm that sweet sorghum has high WUE under different climatic conditions. <![CDATA[<b>Breakthrough of <i>Oscillatoria limnetica </i>and microcystin toxins into drinking water treatment plants - examples from the Nile River, Egypt</b>]]> The presence of cyanobacteria and their toxins (cyanotoxins) in processed drinking water may pose a health risk to humans and animals. The efficiency of conventional drinking water treatment processes (coagulation, flocculation, rapid sand filtration and disinfection) in removing cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins varies across different countries and depends on the composition of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins prevailing in the water source. Most treatment studies have primarily been on the removal efficiency for unicellular Microcystis spp., with little information about the removal efficiency for filamentous cyanobacteria. This study investigates the efficiency of conventional drinking water treatment processes for the removal of the filamentous cyanobacterium, Oscillatoria limnetica, dominating the source water (Nile River) phytoplankton in seven Egyptian drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). The study was conducted in May 2013. The filamentous O. limnetica was present at high cell densities (660-1 877 cells/mL) and produced microcystin (MC) cyanotoxin concentrations of up to 877 μg·g-1, as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results also showed that conventional treatment methods removed most phytoplankton cells, but were ineffective for complete removal of O. limnetica. Furthermore, coagulation led to cell lysis and subsequent microcystin release. Microcystins were not effectively removed and remained at high concentrations (0.37-3.8 μg·L -1) in final treated water, exceeding the WHO limit of 1 μg·L-1. This study recommends regular monitoring and proper treatment optimization for removing cyanobacteria and their cyanotoxins in DWTPs using conventional methods. <![CDATA[<b>Performance comparison of plant root biofilm, gravel attached biofilm and planktonic microbial populations, in phenol removal within a constructed wetland wastewater treatment system</b>]]> This study was performed in order to understand the relative contribution of a constructed wetland (CW) system's various components to phenol degradation (100 mg·L-1) under controlled plant biomass/gravel/ water experimental ratios. This was done by division of a pilot-scale CW system into its components, with or without their associated bacteria: (i) gravel, plant and water; (ii) gravel and water; (iii) water; (iv) gravel; (v) plant; (vi) control (sterile water). The highest phenol biodegradation rate occurred for the gravel-attached biofilm followed by root-attached biofilm and planktonic population, which recorded a similar rate to each other and a much lower rate than the gravel-attached biofilm. A control containing CW planktonic inactivated bacteria (autoclaved water) did not impact phenol removal, revealing that microbial populations are the major factor in phenol removal. The differences in the phenol removal achieved could be attributed to higher numbers of specific phenol degraders on the gravel surface, compared to lower numbers of root-attached and planktonic bacterial fractions, as isolated using phenol-agar plates which contained phenol as the sole carbon source. The main contributor to our findings appears to be the larger surface area provided by the gravel bed compared to plant roots. <![CDATA[<b>Design of a pot experiment to study the effect of irrigation with diluted winery wastewater on four differently textured soils</b>]]> Due to the intensification of environmental legislation, the wine industry is expected to find solutions for the treatment or re-use of winery wastewater. The objective of the study was to design and evaluate a pot experiment for determining the effects of irrigation with diluted winery wastewater on different soils. Four pedogenetically different soils were included in the experiment, i.e., (i) alluvial sand containing 3.3% clay from Rawsonville, (ii) aeolic sand containing 0.4% clay from Lutzville, (iii) shale-derived soil containing 20% clay from Stellenbosch, and (iv) granite-derived soil containing 13% clay from Stellenbosch. The pot experiment was carried out under a rain shelter at ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij. Soils were packed in 3.54 dm³ PVC pots to a bulk density of 1 400 kg/m³. The four soils were irrigated using winery wastewater that was diluted to 3 000 mg/L COD. Municipal water was used to irrigate the control treatment of each soil. The relatively simple mixing and irrigation infrastructure enabled irrigation of more than one soil with diluted winery wastewater in one experiment. It was possible to irrigate the soils accurately when approx. 85% of the water had evaporated as no visual drainage occurred. Since the pot experiment could be continued under the rain shelter during winter, results were obtained quicker compared to an open field study. However, weighing the pots every second day was time consuming. Therefore, it is recommended that load cells are to be used to record daily mass losses automatically in future pot experiments.