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Grant McDermott

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Economics
University of Oregon

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(Semi) fresh on the heals of The Corral's coverage of an appeal to major water-using companies to fund "an extensive water monitoring project" in South Africa...

Concerns about SA Water quality:
Food retailer Woolworths says it is extremely concerned about the quality of the country’s water and the influence this has on food security. 


Noël van Zyl, buying manager at Interfruit, which supplies Woolworths with fresh produce, said on Friday it has become clear over the past 18 months that the country’s water quality is declining drastically.  


“We recently discovered traces of Escherichia coli on fresh produce,” he said.  

[snip] 


Thomas du Toit, representative of the non-governmental organisation Save the Vaal (Save), said government should be “shocked” to its senses, since they are the custodians of the country’s water resources and they are allowing the water quality to deteriorate at this rate.


Van Zyl said Woolworths doesn’t want empty shelves, but if the country’s water quality continues to deteriorate, this will be everyone’s fate.

[For our overseas readers, Woolworths is basically the direct equivalent of Marks and Spencer in the UK (not it's all-but-liquidated namesake). In other words, it is a high-end retailer selling premium food goods and apparel items.]

I swear, this whole South Africa water thing is starting to feel like watching a train wreck in slow motion. I'll avoid repeating myself, so you can have a wonder over to my previous posts to view some modest (brief) suggestions that I make on this issue. 

Beyond that, I'm strangely heartened that the article makes mention (further on) about the link between carbon, climate and water quality. My own research is currently given over to studying aspects of the water-energy nexus, which seems to me a much-ignored area. More on that later, but here's a nice little summary in the meantime.