Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 38 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>An inter-comparison of model-simulated east-west climate gradients over South Africa</b>]]> This study examines how the east-west gradient of climate over South Africa is represented in terms of mean rainfall, tropospheric humidity and circulation, and surface latent heat flux in the satellite era 1980-2001. Inter-comparisons of NCEP2 reanalysis and GPCP satellite-gauge merged rainfall with coupled general circulation model (GCM) simulations from generic CMIP-3 are made, with a focus on the maize belt 25°-29°S, 25°-30°E. The summer climatology is analysed for the zonal gradient in vertical atmospheric structure and the annual cycle of rainfall. A wet bias is found in most simulations over the eastern mountains, but in two GCMs (CSM3, PCM) it extends over the western plateau. The east-west gradient in vegetation affects the vertical flux of surface moisture into the atmosphere. ECMWF reanalysis and SAFARI-2000 flux tower data reveal that this process is triggered during daytime heating, so model ability to handle the diurnal cycle is crucial. Inter-annual variability is briefly studied and two operational ensemble models (CFS and ECHAM4) simulate and forecast summer rainfall variations with positive correlation to observed values. The AIRS satellite night and day relative humidity structure is contrasted for dry and wet January months. All five generic CMIP-3 models: GFDL2, CSM3, PCM, HADen, ECHAM4 project a drying trend in the maize area over the period 2000-2050, using the SRES A1B scenario. Recommendations for observing the surface and mixed layer moisture fluxes are given. <![CDATA[<b>Variation in VIP latrine sludge contents</b>]]> This study investigated variations in the characteristics of the sludge content from different ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines and variation in these characteristics at specific depths within each pit. Faecal sludge from 16 VIP latrines within the eThekwini Municipality was collected and laboratory characterisation including moisture content, total and volatile solids, chemical oxygen demand, and aerobic biodegradability was performed. Sludge samples were collected from 4 specific depths within each pit investigated. The laboratory characterisation performed showed that none of the VIP latrines investigated had the same sludge characteristics, and that within a pit sludge characteristics varied with increasing depth in the pit. This supports the motivating hypothesis that, depending on household habits and local environmental conditions, there should be considerable variation in the organic contents, moisture content, non-biodegradable content and microbial population between different pits. This variation with increasing depth within a pit is expected, since fresh material is constantly being added to the pit overlaying older material which might have undergone a certain degree of stabilisation. <![CDATA[<b>Implementing a protocol for selection and prioritisation of organic contaminants in the drinking water value chain</b>: <b>case study of Rand Water, South Africa</b>]]> Approaches that prioritise chemicals according to their importance as environmental contaminants have been developed by government agencies and private industries. However, it has been noticed that few approaches, such as one published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), address the needs of the drinking water industry. There is also no generic approach to the selection, prioritisation and monitoring of organic contaminants in the drinking water value chain. To safeguard drinking water industry customers, it was necessary to develop a generic protocol to assist with the identification of a list of organic contaminants for monitoring in the drinking water value chain. Once the protocol was developed, it was validated in a prototype drinking water value chain. This paper describes the implementation of such a generic protocol. The exercise comprised of testing each step of the protocol, from selection of the 'pool of organic contaminants' (Step I) to recommending the final priority list of organic contaminants (Step VII). Successful implementation of the protocol took place in the Rand Water (South Africa) drinking water value chain (from catchment to tap). Expert judgment was emphasized during the implementation as each step was validated and the opinion of key stakeholders used to shape the process. The tailor-made prioritisation criteria, reflecting the drinking water industry perspective, proved to be successful in selecting and prioritising organic contaminants for monitoring in the drinking water value chain. The organic contaminants were successfully prioritised in 3 classes: short-term priority for analysis, medium-term priority for analysis and long-term priority for analysis. This is a very important guide to assist water utilities in optimising their resources while not compromising the role of public health protection. Finally, a priority list of organic contaminants was identified for use by Rand Water and other water utilities. <![CDATA[<b>Cr(VI) formation during ozonation of Cr-containing materials in aqueous suspension - implications for water treatment</b>]]> Ozonation, or advanced oxidation processes (utilising ozone decomposition products as oxidants) are widely used in industrial wastewater and drinking water treatment plants. In these applications the use of ozone is based on ozone and its decomposition by-products being strong oxidants. In this paper, the possible oxidation of non-Cr(VI) Cr-containing materials suspended in water during ozonation, is presented. This study is of particular interest within the South African context, considering that South Africa holds the majority of global chromium ore resources and has the largest Cr-related industry in the world. Chromium also occurs commonly in other industrial waste materials and is a naturally-occurring element in the crust of the earth. Results indicated that in situ formation of Cr(VI) is possible during aqueous ozonation. pH had a significant influence, since the decomposition products of aqueous O3, i.e. hydroxyl radicals formed at higher pH levels, were found to be predominantly responsible for Cr(VI) formation. Increased ozonation contact time, water temperature and solid loading also resulted in higher Cr(VI) concentrations being formed. <![CDATA[<b>Characterising the reactivity of metallic iron in Fe<sup>0</sup>/As-rock/H<sub>2</sub>O systems by long-term column experiments</b>]]> The intrinsic reactivity of 4 metallic iron materials (Fe0) was investigated in batch and column experiments. The Fe0 reactivity was characterised by the extent of aqueous fixation of in-situ leached arsenic (As). Air-homogenised batch experiments were conducted for 1 month with 10.0 g/l of an As-bearing rock (ore material) and 0.0 or 5.0 g/l of Fe0. Column experiments were performed for 2 and 3 months. Each dynamic experiment was made up of 2 glass columns in series. The first column contained 2.5 or 5.0 g of the ore material and the second column 0.0 or 5.0 g of a Fe0 material. Results showed no significant reactivity difference in batch studies for all 4 materials; ZVI2 was by far the most reactive material in column experiments. This observation was attributed to the relative kinetics of production of aqueous As and Fe species under the experimental conditions and their impact on the formation of a protective film on Fe0. Accordingly, no protective film could be built at the surface of the least reactive materials. The results corroborated the urgent need for unified experimental procedures to characterise Fe0 materials. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative study of EVA-Cloisite<sup>®</sup> 20A and heat-treated EVA-Cloisite<sup>®</sup> 20A on heavy-metal adsorption properties</b>]]> Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)/ Cloisite® 20A (C20A) composite fabricated via the melt-blending method was used for the development of a heavy-metal adsorbent through acid and heat treatment. Heat-treated composites were produced at 400°C to 1 000°C in air and N2 atmospheres. The materials were characterised through TGA, FT-IR, contact angle and Zetasizer. Treating EVA/C20A composites with H2SO, at 130°C reduced the contact angle from 99.73° to 30.40°. The acid-function-alised composite was tested for the removal of Pb²+ and an adsorption capacity of 49 mg-g-1 was recorded while the heat-treated composite exhibited an adsorption capacity of 153 mg-g-1. <![CDATA[<b>Preparation and characterisation of tamarind 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (THBA) resin and its use in extraction of heavy metal ions from industrial wastewater</b>]]> The adsorption of heavy metal cations, Pb(II), Cd(II), Cu(II), Zn(II) and Fe(II) from aqueous solution by newly-synthesized tamarind 4-hydroxybenzoic acid (THBA) resin was investigated. The resin was characterised on the basis of FTIR, elemental analysis, ion-exchange capacity and physico-chemical properties. The distribution coefficients (Kd) and percentage adsorption of metal ions on resin were determined by batch methods using atomic absorption spectrophotometry (AAS). The effect of experimental parameters, such as pH, treatment time, temperature, adsorbent dose, initial metal ion concentration and flow rate, on the removal of metal ions was also studied. THBA resin proved to be an effective adsorbent for the removal of different heavy metal ions from aqueous solution; removal efficiency followed the order: Fe(II) > Cu(II) > Zn(II) > Cd(II) > Pb(II). These results suggest that the cation exchange resin THBA holds great potential to remove cationic heavy metal species from industrial wastewater. <![CDATA[<b>Fenton and solar photo-Fenton processes for the removal of chlorpyrifos insecticide in wastewater</b>]]> The degradation of chlorpyrifos in water by Fenton (H2O2/Fe2+) and solar photo-Fenton (H2O2/Fe2+/solar light) processes was investigated. A laboratory-scale reactor was designed to evaluate and select the optimal oxidation condition. The degradation rate is strongly dependent on pH, temperature, H2O2 dosing rate, and initial concentrations of the insecticide and Fe²+. The kinetics of organic matter decay was evaluated by means of chemical oxygen demand (COD) measurement. Overall kinetics can be described by a pseudo-second-order rate equation with respect to COD. The optimum conditions were obtained at pH 3, H2O2 dosing rate 120 mg-min-1, [Fe²+]0 5.0 mM, initial COD 1 330 mg-£-1 and 35°C for the Fenton process. However, in the solar photo-Fenton process, the degradation rate increased significantly. To achieve 90% of COD removal, the solar photo-Fenton process needs 50% less time than that used in the Fenton process which translates to a 50% gain of H2O2. <![CDATA[<b>Spectrophotometric determination of fluoride in drinking water using aluminium complexes of triphenylmethane dyes</b>]]> A sensitive spectrophotometric determination of fluoride in drinking water has been developed using aluminium complexes of triphenylmethane dyes (chrome azurol B and malachite green) as spectrophotometric reagents. The method allowed a reliable determination of fluoride in the range of 0.5-4.0 mg-l-1 for chrome azurol B and 0.0-2.0 mg-l-1 for malachite green. The molar absorptivity for the complexes of chrome azurol B at 582 nm and malachite green at 622 nm is 1.44 x 10(4) and 2.56 x 10(4) l-mol-1cm-1, respectively. The sensitivity, detection limit, quantitation limit, and percentage recovery for 1.5 mg-l-1 fluoride for the method using chrome azurol B were found to be 0.125 ± 0.003 ug-ml-1, 0.2 mg-l-1, 0.5 mg-l-1, and 97.1 ± 4.2, respectively, and for malachite green were 0.143 ± 0.002 ug-l-1, 0.1 mg-l-1, 0.3 mg-l-1, and 97.9 ± 4.1, respectively. <![CDATA[<b>A comparative life cycle assessment of process water treatment technologies at the Secunda industrial complex, South Africa</b>]]> The increasingly poor quality of South Africa's natural water sources requires industries and power stations to treat raw water extensively prior to industrial use in, for example, boilers. Two different raw water desalination technologies, an existing ion exchange plant and a proposed reverse osmosis intervention, are compared by life cycle assessment for the production of 1 Ml of boiler feed water, in the context of the Secunda industrial complex situated in Mpumalanga, South Africa. The proposed reverse osmosis option would perform 22% worse for global warming potential, which relates to the use of coal-derived electricity, but would reduce burdens of the ion exchange option on human toxicity and freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity due to the use of an aluminium sulphate coagulant. Significantly, the assessment predicts the reverse osmosis option to effect a 78% overall reduction in storage of problematic salts, from 599 kg/Ml to 133 kg/Ml. Notwithstanding the fact that the power generated within the complex and used by the RO process is associated with a high salts burden (mine water is desalinated at the power station), it was found that the reverse osmosis intervention would incur a lower salts footprint than the IX/S technology and would not shift salts burdens. <![CDATA[<b>Prioritising alternatives for maintenance of water distribution networks</b>: <b>a group decision approach</b>]]> Difficulties related to the group decision-making process in the water supply sector, such as physical and economic losses, irrational use of water and maintenance costs, highlight the need to develop procedures to support decisions, reducing unnecessary water use and wastage. This study focused on the rational use of water resources and reduction of water losses, based on the assumption that it is far more economical to develop and improve existing systems rather than build new systems in parallel to the existing one. This study aimed to support a group decision-making process in the maintenance section of a water supply company. A model is proposed consisting of 2 phases, which aggregates individual preferences to achieve a group decision. The first phase is based on the ELECTRE II method, analysing individual preferences, while the second is based on the COPELAND method to aggregate individual preferences. From this model, we developed a software program to prioritise alternatives, simultaneously taking into account subjective and objective criteria, and thereby giving decision makers a clear and comprehensive overview of alternatives, indicating the most suitable alternative based on the preferences of group members from different areas. <![CDATA[<b>Operational optimisation of water supply networks using a fuzzy system</b>]]> This paper presents a fuzzy system to control the pressure in a water distribution network, by using valves and controlling the rotor speed of the pumping systems. The variable frequency drive tracks the minimum head of the pumping system, while the control valves have the function of eliminating the excess pressure at various points of the network. The control system can track any reference pressure value and there is no limit for the number of monitored points. Experiments were carried out to demonstrate the fuzzy system's efficiency. By extrapolating the results achieved in the experimental setup to a real hydraulic network with leakages and no pressure control, the volumetric losses could be reduced by more than 56%. The experiments showed that the system is robust enough to control the pressure of an experimental setup of water distribution. Besides, the proposed system can be easily applied to similar water supply systems and would help to reduce the consumption of water and electricity, as well as to reduce the maintenance costs. <![CDATA[<b>Comprehensive entropy weight observability-controllability risk analysis and its application to water resource decision-making</b>]]> Decision making for water resource planning is often related to social, economic and environmental factors. There are various methods for making decisions about water resource planning alternatives and measures with various shortcomings. A comprehensive entropy weight observability-controllability risk analysis approach is presented in this study. Computing methods for entropy weight (EW) and subjective weight (SW) are put forward based on information entropy theory and experimental psychology principles, respectively. Comprehensive weight (CW) consisting of EW and SW is determined. The values of observability-controllability risk (R) and gain by comparison (G) are obtained based on the CWs. The quantitative analysis of alternatives and measures is achieved based on Roc and Gbc. A case study on selection of water resource planning alternatives and measures in the Yellow River Basin, China, was performed. Results demonstrate that the approach presented in this study can achieve optimal decision-making results. <![CDATA[<b>Assessment of microbial contamination of groundwater in upper Limphasa River catchment, located in a rural area of northern Malawi</b>]]> In rural Africa, scientific evidence is often lacking to guide the scaling-up of groundwater as the safest source of potable water. An investigation was conducted in the Upper Limphasa Catchment in northern Malawi to determine the safety of groundwater sources and to explore factors influencing water quality. Water samples from 17 boreholes, 6 hand-dug wells and 90 households were analysed for selected parameters. Portable incubators, multi-parameter probe and colorimetric standard methods were used for field measurements, and standard methods were used for laboratory water analysis. Results were compared to specified guidelines of the World Health Organization and Malawi Bureau of Standards to establish the potability of water. Statistical results using non-parametric t-tests indicated that the wells were more contaminated with E. colibacteria than boreholes (p=6.2x10-6), suggesting non-consideration of local hydrogeologic factors in groundwater development. Water from boreholes that tested negative for pathogens at source tested positive at some households (total coliform:p=0.0042 and E. colip=7.8x10(7)) suggesting the effect of handling practices. Water from wells that was not treated with chlorine showed higher levels of E. coli than treated water from the same sources, confirming the effectiveness of chlorine in reducing pathogenic bacteria in households' stored drinking-water, reinforcing the scientific basis for scaling up chlorine as effective disinfectant. However, this study demonstrated that chlorine failed to effectively eliminate all pathogens in drinking water. As a case study in tropical rural environments in Africa, these findings on the suitability of using chlorine as disinfectant and on factors explaining groundwater contamination, though provisional, provide a scientific basis for assessing cost-effectiveness and sustainability of scaling-up the use of chlorine as a curative remedy and of systematically investigating local hydrogeologic factors in order to implement measures to protect groundwater quality in poverty-prone rural communities. <![CDATA[<b>Nitrogen, phosphorus and silicon in riparian ecosystems along the Berg River (South Africa)</b>: <b>the effect of increasing human land use</b>]]> The Berg River is one of the main rivers in the Cape Region; it is essential for the local economy and ecology, as it supplies water to agriculture and industries, provides drinking water for the greater Cape Town region, and supports rich aquatic ecosystems. The Berg River is impacted by both diffuse pollution from agricultural run-off and point-source pollution from urban and industrial wastewater. Construction of a dam on the headwaters of the Berg River in 2007 has changed the hydrology of the upper catchment. Pelagic nutrient dynamics in the Berg River are well documented. The opposite is however true for riparian nutrient dynamics. We studied changes in riparian nutrient storage over a gradient in elevation (a proxy for flooding frequency and drought) and human influence (the Berg River dam and lateral nutrient and pollutant input). Our results show that nutrient concentrations in the riparian sediments reflect nutrient concentrations in the river. N concentrations in the sediment increased up to 1 000%, while P concentrations rose up to 200% with increasing human influence. For biogenic Si, we found generally low concentrations throughout the whole gradient sampled (all < 0.5 mg BSi g-1 sediment). Sediments closer to the river appear to have more efficient recycling and export of nutrients into the river. Overall, we conclude that the observed patterns indicate the necessity of incorporating nutrient status and management of riparian habitats in the Berg River monitoring strategy. <![CDATA[<b>Nitrate-induced changes and effect of varying total nitrogen to total phosphorus ratio on the phytoplankton community in Lake Chivero, Zimbabwe</b>: <b>microcosm experiments</b>]]> Microcosm experiments were conducted to assess nitrate-induced changes and the effect of varying the ratio of total nitrogen to total phosphorus (TN:TP) on the winter and late summer phytoplankton communities in Lake Chivero, Zimbabwe. In both winter and summer, nitrate addition altered species composition from a cryptophyte-dominated to a chlorophytedominated assemblage and increased chlorophyll a concentration and total algal biomass. The shift in algal dominance and increase in chlorophyll a concentration and total algal biomass also occurred in the control showing that isolation from allogenic processes like turbulence had an effect on phytoplankton structure. Microcystis aeruginosa, a common cyanobacterium in Lake Chivero, did not assume dominance in any of the treatments. From an application perspective it is interesting that varying nitrate loadings in microcosms favoured chlorophytes rather than increasing undesirable cyanobacteria. Nutrient manipulation can be used as a management option to avoid cyanobacteria occurrence, by maintaining either cryptophytes or chlorophytes. However, the practicality of such an intervention needs to be assessed. <![CDATA[<b>Sludge pipe flow pressure drop prediction using composite power-law friction factor-Reynolds number correlations based on different non-Newtonian Reynolds numbers</b>]]> When predicting pressure gradients for the flow of sludges in pipes, the rheology of the fluid plays an important role, especially with increasing concentration of the suspended matter in the sludge. The f-Re relationship is often applied when designing pipelines, but it depends on the rheological parameters of the fluid and what definition of non-Newtonian Reynolds number is used. In this work, a database of 586 AP - Q points from tests with 10 different sludges of concentration 3.4 to 7.2% by mass, in 3 test pipe diameters, was established and used to rheologically characterise the sludges as Bingham plastic fluids. Five published definitions of the non-Newtonian Reynolds number were used to create composite power law correlations for the f-Re relationship covering all flow regimes. Pressure gradient predictions based on each correlation were compared and ranked, based on 2 different statistical estimates of error. The correlations using the MetznerReed Reynolds number (ReMR) and a Reynolds number proposed by Slatter and Lazarus in 1993 (Re2) yielded the lowest errors in comparison with the experimental values. It is shown that these correlations can be used to predict pressure drop to within ±20% for a given sludge concentration and operating condition. <![CDATA[<b>Simulation of hydrological processes in the Simiyu River, tributary of Lake Victoria, Tanzania</b>]]> A spatially-distributed hydrologic model (WetSpa) is used to simulate hydrologic processes in the Simiyu River, a tributary of Lake Victoria, Tanzania. The model combines digital maps of topography, land-use and soil texture with observed daily meteorological time series to predict discharge hydrographs and spatial distribution of hydrologic parameters in the basin. The model was calibrated using 3 years of daily observed discharge measured at the mouth of the river at Lake Victoria. The estimated average travel time of the runoff to the outlet of the basin is about 2.4 days and a maximum of 8 days for the most remote areas. The model results show that the surface runoff and interflow provide, respectively, 38.6% and 61.4% of the total discharge, while the contribution of groundwater drainage is about nil. The absence of groundwater drainage is likely due to the high evaporative demand of the atmosphere, which accounts for about 90% of the total precipitation being lost by evapotranspiration. The annual water balance estimated with the model reveals that the total outflow to Lake Victoria is about 475 x 10(6) m³ per year, which occurs mainly in the wet seasons, i.e. from March to May and from November to January. The discharge volume produced by agricultural land amounts to about 43 x 10(6) m³ and may carry agrochemicals to Lake Victoria. <![CDATA[<b>Methods for design flood estimation in South Africa</b>]]> The estimation of design floods is necessary for the design of hydraulic structures and to quantify the risk of failure of the structures. Most of the methods used for design flood estimation in South Africa were developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and are in need of updating with more than 40 years of additional data currently available and with new approaches used internationally. This paper reviews methods used for design flood estimation in South Africa and internationally and highlights research needs in order to update the methods used for design flood estimation in South Africa.