Water Hungry Coal: Burning South Africa’s water to produce electricity
Safe, affordable access to water is regarded as one of planet’s scarcest natural resources. This is particularly true on the African continent, where water scarcity is often an everyday reality. Coal-fired electricity generation currently contributes to over 90% of South Africa’s electricity, with Eskom accounting for a staggering 62.3% of South Africa’s emissions in 2011. In one second, Eskom uses the same amount of water as a single person would use within one year, based on access to the minimum 25 litres of water per day. And in seven seconds, the utility uses nearly the same amount of water as a household would use in an entire year, based on the free basic water allocation. Within this context, in 2012 there are still nearly a million households without access to the minimum 25 litres of water per person per day. South Africans have a right to know how water is being allocated, managed and polluted. This report finds that the real solution to South Africa’s water and electricity crisis is not incremental improvements in coal technology, it is an Energy [R]evolution: a shift away from coal and nuclear energy, and towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.