Greenpeace reports that in 2011, Eskom used 327 million mega litres of water – around 2% of South Africa’s supply. In a research paper produced during the same year, Greenpeace examined the water cost of the new Kusile power station near Standerton and found that for every unit of electricity produced, Kusile will use 173 times more water than wind power would use. Another concern is the quality of water in the mines supplying the power stations. Pollution is a real and tangible threat and the water quality tests from the individual mines are not available to the public. And it is not as though South Africa has no water pressure issues. The country is projected to experience a 17% gap between water supply and demand by 2030 – a shortfall of 2,7 billion cubic metres – according to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Gauteng may be hardest hit as its water comes from the Vaal catchment, the same river that will be supplying Kusile. South Africa is using too much water for it to be sustainable – we are drawing 40% of our annual freshwater resources, the highest in the world.
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