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Water Quality Labs Under Microscope

Water Quality Labs Under Microscope

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Published by: winston on Oct 13, 2009
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The Water Wheel January/February 2008
5
Upfo
A 
nationwide call isgoing out to all labora-tories engaged in waterquality testing to partici-pate in the compilation ofa database which willprovide potential clientswith information of testingservices in their areas.The initiative is beingspearheaded by the WaterResearch Commission(WRC), who has appointeda research team from Jeffares & Green,Umgeni Water and the National LaboratoryAssociation to undertake the investiga-tion. The WRC is seeking to implement anaccepted and practical water quality testingstandard for all laboratories in South Africathereby preventing the irregularities andoccasional health risks currently experiencedin water quality. 
In order to produce such a standard, aninvestigation is being conducted into theexisting conditions, problems and capacitiesin all water testing laboratories. A comprehen-sive picture of the current situation is vital asvarious issues have been reported as stum-bling blocks to improving the quality of labo-ratory results and these need to be addressed.
The first step will be to undertake asurvey of laboratories and gather informationon expertise, accreditation status, geographiclocation, procedures and infrastructure. AGeographic Information System (GIS) will bedeveloped and will provide basic informationsuch as laboratory name, location, contactdetails and the type oftesting services provided.The WRC will make thisinformation available tointerested parties so thatpotential clients can findinformation relevant to alaboratory in their area.The Department ofWater Affairs & Forestryhopes to use the GIS todevelop and maintain anup-to-date database oflaboratories so as to provide informationwhen requested, thus ensuring that thisresearch remains current and relevant. Theresults of the investigation will provide insightinto the value of SANS 17025 accreditationand perhaps assist in the formulation ofpractical alternatives to validation and controlthrough self-regulation within the laboratoryfraternity. It is anticipated that, following theanalysis of the survey results, the researchteam will be better positioned to presentinformation on the status of water qualitytesting challenges and basic training needs.One of the greatest challenges for theproject team is to build a comprehensivedatabase of all laboratories that undertakewater quality testing. The project team wouldlike to encourage any laboratory that tests forwater quality to contact them and be a part ofthis exercise.For enquiries, contact the Jeffares &Green Water Research Unit at Tel: (033)347-1841; Fax: (033) 347-1845; E-mail:jgipmb@jgi.co.za
Water by nUmbers6 400
– The estimated number of jobopportunities created through theimplementation of 11 sanitationprojects in North West province in the2006/2007 financial year to date.
1 345
– The number of infrastructure-related projects the DevelopmentBank of Southern Africa (DBSA) wasinvolved in at municipalities last year.The bank provided project manage-ment expertise, assisted in the prepa-ration of technical reports, and alsodealt with issues surrounding contractmanagement.
60 000
– The estimated number ofdeaths annually as a result of climate-related natural disasters, according to the World Health Organisation.
226
– The number of informal settle-ments in Cape Town.
263
– The number of internationalshared river basins worldwide,according to UNESCO. Over 45%of the land surface of the world iscovered by basins that are shared bymore than one nation.
Us$799-llo
– The estimated cost toconstruct the Bujagali Dam in Uganda.Construction of the hydropower damon the Nile River started in Augustlast year.
300
– The number of schools in CapeTown out of 956 schools surveyedwhich reported a high water wastagefactor with minimal income for infra-structure purposes.
200 llo o
– The ice lost in Antarc- tica in 2006 due to the shrinking of thepolar cap. According to a report pub-lished in
 Nature
in January, Antarcticalost an average of 152 km
3
 /year of icefrom 2002 to 2005.
r1-million
– The funds donated by theSouth African Bureau of Standards toimprove the mathematics and scienceskills of 70 teachers in Bushbuckridge.
180 000
– The number of articles availa-ble in the online archive of prestigiousscience journal
 Nature
. Every issue,dating back to the first magazine from1869, has now been included in thejournal’s digital archive. The projecthas taken over five years to complete.
Water quality labs under the microscopeCT gets new water demand system
T
he City of Cape Town has introduced anew water demand management systemfor its residents.The system comprises a water manage-ment device, which is installed in residents’houses. A central control team in the Cityadministration regulates the functioning ofthese devices with the help of a computersetup.According to the metro, the system willassist its customers to save water andmanage their monthly water bills, while help-ing the City to manage debt. “It will also helpresidents to identify any leaks and have themfixed, instead of running up a huge water billand then being unable to pay.”The water management device measuresout a specific supply of water on a daily basisat the pressure and flow rate to which house-holds have become accustomed. It allowsresidents to receive their free six kilolitre por-tion of water per month, and it allows themto receive an additional amount according towhat they commit to paying.At the time of writing, devices had beeninstalled in more than 4 000 houses.
 
The Water Wheel January/February 2008
6
Upfo
A 
new manual for conducting cost-benefitanalysis with specific reference to evalu-ating the development and management ofwater resources is now available from theWater Research Commission (WRC).This evaluation of projects is often adifficult task since costs and benefits cannotnecessarily be seen immediately, but ratheroccur over time. Furthermore, costs andbenefits are often hidden, making them hardto identify, and also frequently difficult tomeasure. 
The same problems occur when deci-sion makers have to make a choice betweena number of projects. These challenges arenot limited to capital projects; they alsooccur when decisions have to be maderegarding the merits of expenditureprogrammes.The cost-benefit analysis method pro-vides a logical framework by means of whichprojects can be evaluated, serving as an aidin the decision making process. The manual,authored by Conningarth Economics, isaimed specifically at the decision maker inthe public sector.
The manual follows a broader approachto incorporate the relationships betweencost-benefit analysis and other aspects ofthe economy. In this regard the relation-ship between the principles of cost-benefitanalysis and welfare economics; as well ascost-benefit analysis as one component ofthe range of decision making support instru-ments, have been included, among others.The manual also includes insight into thecost-benefit analysis application possibilitiesfor decision makers. The manual advocatesthat the cost-benefit analysis concept needsto be widened to include the broader socialcosts and benefits derived from a project.Furthermore, it is accepted that cost-benefitanalysis is only one of several instruments forevaluating proposed projects.To order the cost-benefit analysis manual(WRC Project No
tt 305/07
), contact Publi-cations at Tel: (012) 330-0340; Fax: (012)331-2565 or E-mail:orders@wrc.org.za
Water Diary
WatermarCH 4-7
Water China 2008, the largest Chinesetrade fair for the water industry willtake place in Guangzhou, Canton.
  Enquiries: Merebo Messe Marketing; Tel:+49-40-6087-6926; E-mail: contact@ merebo.com; Visit:www.waterchina.merebo.com
FranCHisinGmarCH 19-20
A conference on franchising for thewater sector will be held at HelderfonteinEstates, in Gauteng.
 Enquiries: Juanita Males, Scatterlings of Africa, Tel: (011)463-5085, E-mail: Juanita@soafrica.com
sbr teCHnOLOGyaPriL 7-10
The Fourth International Conference onSequencing Batch Technology will takeplace in Rome, Italy.
 Enquiries: Dr Roberto Ramadori; Tel: +39-06-8841451; Fax: +39-06-841 7861; E-mail: sbr4abstract@irsa.cnr.it; Visit:www.sbr4conference.com
Water & sanitatiOnaPriL 7-11
The 33
rd
Water Engineering &Development Centre (WEDC) InternationalConference will take place in Accra,Ghana. The theme is ‘Access to Sanitationand Safe Water: Global Partnership andLocal Actions’.
 Enquiries: Conference administrator; Tel: +44 (0) 1509 228-304; E-mail: wedc.conf@lboro.ac.uk 
FiLtratiOnaPriL 14-18
The 10
th
World Filtration Congress &Exhibition is taking place in Leipzig,Germany.
 Enquiries: info@wfc10.com or Visit: www.wfc10.com
Watermay 18-22
The Biennial Conference of the WaterInstitute of Southern Africa (WISA) willbe held at Sun City.
 Enquiries: Dr Heidi Snyman (technical programme);Tel: (012) 330-0340; E-mail: heidis@wrc.org.za; or Juanita Males(delegates & sponsorships);
 
Tel: (011)463-5085, E-mail: Juanita@soafrica.com
Manual to help financialdecision making
Clean water vital in fight against AIDS
A
ccess to improved watersupply and sanitation couldgreatly improve the quality oflife for people living with HIV/ AIDS, according to internationalorganisation, the Water andSanitation Programme (WSP). Many of the opportunisticinfections that kill people livingwith HIV/AIDS are transmittedthrough contaminated water andunsanitary living conditions. People suffer-ing from the disease require safe, sanitarytoilets and large quantities of water to keepthemselves and their surroundings clean.In a statement released ahead of WorldAids Day on 1 December, WSP said thatthere was a lack of research onthe role the water sector playsfor people living with HIV/AIDS.“It is necessary for the globalHIV/AIDS community to workwith the global water commu-nity to develop a consensus listof prioritised research neededon water and sanitation andHIV/AIDS, said Dr Kate Tulenko,a public health specialist ofthe WSP.
The Water Research Commission hasmanaged research on the importance ofaccess to safe water and sanitation for theefficient caregiving of HIV/AIDS patients (see
Water Wheel 
 
July/August).
 
The Water Wheel January/February 2008
7
Glol w
 Satellite datawarn of famine
A 
NASA research team has reportedlydeveloped a new method to anticipatefood shortages brought on by drought.Molly Brown of the space agency’sGoddard Space Flight Centre created a modelusing data from satellite remote sensingof crop growth and food prices. Until nowofficials have mainly studied the after effectsof occurrences such as floods and droughtsthat might affect crop production as their bestmeans of warning of a coming food securitycrisis. “With this new study, for the first timewe can leverage satellite observations of cropproduction to create a more accurate pricemodel that will help humanitarian aidorganisations and other decision makerspredict how much food will be available andwhat its costs will be as a result,” Brownexplained. “This is a unique opportunity foran economic model to take climate variablesinto account in a way that can aid populationslarge and small.”
Global news snippits
 
 
UK scientists have developed a moleculethat chews up
uu-cog o
,reports
 NewScientist 
magazine. Research-ers at the University of Edinburgh havefound that the large organic molecule,known as a macrocycle, can fold in half toform a structure like a pair of jaws. These‘jaws’ are used to capture uranyl ions.
 
Uganda’s National Water and SewerageCorporation is constructing a new facilityfor
g d ch
in Kampala.The facility is being established throughthe company’s internally generated fundswith support from the German TechnicalCorporation and Makerere University.
 
City Water Services, a subsidiary of inter-national water company Biwater, has lostan international
lgl c
for breachingits contract to deliver water and sanitationservices in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania be-tween 2003 and 2005. Tanzania has beenawarded more than £3 million in damagesand over £500 000 in legal costs.
 
Drought-stricken Cyprus is considering
pog w
. The Mediterraneanisland is experiencing its fourth consecu-tive year of drought. Authorities areevaluating importing water via sea tankersfrom the Greek island of Crete.
 
South African investment bank ABSA Capi-tal has teamed up with Barclays to arrangefor the commercial debt facility for theUS$867-million
bujgl hdopow
 project in Uganda. The project involves theconstruction of a 250 MW hydroelectricpower station on the Nile River.
R
esearchers in Brazil have found that thefishways designed to help fish swimup-river to breeding grounds are actuallytrapping the animals, sending them to theirdeath.Science journal
 Nature
reports that fish-ways or fish ladders have been instituted inmany large dams after it was found that fishnumbers were declining. However, the situ-ation has not improved, causing researchersto think that the fishways themselves mightbe to blame.The fishways provide river-like flow con-ditions that attract migrant fish looking forspawning grounds. At the top of the fishways,the fish arrive in reservoirs, but becauseconditions in the reservoirs are not favourable(the waters are too clear and still to providethe cover the fish rely on to hide from preda-tors, or the oxygen they enjoy in rivers), thefish bolt for tributaries to spawn.If swift-water tributaries are not avail-able, the fish die. If they do manage tospawn, upon hatching the offspring traveldownstream and hit the edge of the reservoir,where they often die in anoxic waters or areeaten by predators before finding the ladderthat leads downstream to safety.Researchers have now called oninfrastructure development agencies todevelop fishways specifically for Brazilianfish populations.
Brazilian fishways ‘deathtraps’ – study
Global fundforsanitation
T
he Water Supply & Sanita-tion Collaborative Council(WSSCC) has set up a newfinancing mechanism, the GlobalSanitation Fund (GSF).While sanitation has beenhailed as the greatest medicaladvance of the past 150 years,about 40% of the world’s population do nothave access to basic sanitation. The fund aimsto help large numbers of poor people to attainsafe and sustainable sanitation services andadopt good hygiene practices.
The GSF only supports work in countriesthat have national sanitation policies. It is notopen to spontaneous expressions of interest.The official launch of the GSF isexpected March.

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