Drinking Water Crisis in South Africa - What You Don't Know Can Hurt You Badly
By Michael W Jones
Since 1948 our water quality has been steadily declining. In those days pollution was not an issue and post war expansion and industrialization took off at a rapid pace.Little thought was given to pollution controls in the future and by the time we did wake up we were in crisis where we still are today.
Water distribution networks are over-worked and crumbling, insufficient money , not enough political will , general apathy from local municipalities and insufficient skills in the water industry are driving us to disaster . Water Guidelines instituted in late 1996 are really inadequate, compared to overseas and First World countries. Some contaminants allowed in South Africa, such as Arsenic are up to 10 times the allowable levels designated threatening by the Environmental Protection Agency in the USA and Europe.
Contamination is just one of a myriad of problems. The major chemicals used in the treatment of water, ( Chlorine, Aluminum & Fluoride) have such bad side effects that one wonders whether we are not better off taking our chances with the water. Tests done in the USA have found a direct link between chlorine and cancers of the bladder , liver, pancreas, colon , rectum and urinary tract. Used in the Great War of 1914 & World War II as a chemical warfare agent, it is still used in gas form and pumped into the water supplies to kill cells. In this case bacteria causing Diphtheria and Cholera etc and it is very good at what it does. When last did you hear of an outbreak of Cholera ?
Problem is, Chlorine can not differentiate between living cells and bacteria so you and your family are on it's hit list, albeit unknowingly. Aluminum or Aluminum as it is termed here in Southern Africa is just as bad having being linked to senility, senile dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
Fluoride - heaven forbid they introduce that here, is a killer if not controlled very carefully. 1 part per million is beneficial to suppress tooth-decay and cavities in children only, 2 parts per million is poisonous. For everyone else it is merely another poison to digest and deal with.
pH levels and soft corrosive water cause huge damage not only to distribution networks but to consumers metal plumbing, piping, heaters, kettles and geysers.
Ongoing studies at the University of Cape Town for the last 7 years in conjunction with the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research and the Water Research Commission have resulted in limited success and small pilot projects. For the homeowner few solutions are inexpensive . Water Treatment companies hold all the cards and they sure know how to charge!
We drive through the beautiful Garden Route and admire the many rivers which look so "naturally clean " dark from the source and plant life, high in the mountains and catchment area, not realizing that that "darkness" is the cause of many a heart-ache. The water is loaded with tannic acids from our beautiful flora known as the Fynbos, for which the South African is world famous.
Tannins are one of the most difficult substances to eradicate causing brown stains on clothes during washing and staining cisterns , toilet bowls and basins. When in combination with other water elements such as low ph , iron or manganese they become almost impossible to eradicate. Water filters last but 6 weeks before having to be changed . This insidious substance is more like a dye stuff than a particle and penetrates everything.
Michael J runs a successful Water Filter distribution company in South Africa and is particularly active in the Western Cape Coastal area. Having acted as technical & sales trainer for larger water filtration & wholesale suppliers he is qualified both in practical and theoretical experience to advise on numerous water related conditions in South Africa and abroad.
Aqua-elite supplies not only South African home owners with equipment but also numerous African countries , parts of the USA, UK, Holland and clients in Dubai. Customized systems are available for the frequent traveler and can be built-into 4x4 vehicles, R.V's or even hand luggage. Visit our website & blog for in depth information on matters water related http://www.aqua-elite.com and
specialized information is available for the aspirant water bottler at http://www.nbws.org
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