Reducing water consumption

Eskom has formed water management task teams to reduce freshwater consumption and legal contraventions relating to water use.

Eskom met its target for specific water usage, reporting 1.35L/kWh sent out against a target of 1.39L/kWh sent out. The improvement on the previous year’s performance of 1.42L/kWh sent out can be attributed mainly to an increase in the proportion of energy generated by the dry-cooled stations during the year. Increased opportunities for maintenance, implementation of initiatives identified by the water management task teams, good rains and the increased recovery of water compared to previous year also contributed to the improvement.

Eskom tracks the number of mines that supply coal to Eskom on a monthly basis, together with their water use licence status. At the end of the 2013/2014 financial year, 36 of the 46 mines supplying Eskom with coal had approved water use licences, and 10 have applied for licences and are awaiting approval from the Department of Water Affairs (DWA). This is a significant improvement compared to the previous year.

Eskom continues to engage with the DWA to clear the remaining backlog of water use licences, and proactively monitors the compliance of all of Eskom’s coal suppliers to the National Water Act.

Reducing environmental legal contraventions

Two environmental legal contraventions in terms of the operational health dashboard have been identified in the year, matching the 2012/13 figure. The first contravention is associated with the failure of Hendrina power station to effectively and timeously manage water-related legal contraventions that took place between October 2012 and October 2013. This is being addressed by the power station. The other contravention was due to Eskom constructing the Ruigtevallei-Dreunberg 132kV line on an incorrect servitude option that was not approved in the environmental authorisation.

The number of legal environmental contraventions decreased from the previous year (32 contraventions against 481 in 2012/13).
A total of 13 were linked to water usage (leaks and spills, sewage spills and ash-line leaks) and 10 to power stations exceeding particulate emissions limits. The remaining contraventions related to clearing vegetation without a licence, installing distribution lines without environmental authorisation and oil spills. Eskom has initiated training and awareness initiatives to ensure that employees and contractors are made aware of environmental risks.

Eskom aims to obtain ISO 14001 (environmental management) certification for all its power stations.

Programmes are being implemented to achieve full compliance with atmospheric emission licences, waste-management permits, water-use licences, environmental authorisations and biodiversity-related permits.

1. The 2012/13 number of 47 was restated due to an additional legal contravention that was identified during the year for activities associated with the development of facilities at Kusile which occurred in March 2013.