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Source water protection planning

A FIFA requirement for South Africa to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup was that host cities assure adequate and safe water supply for the event and visitors. This requirement was in line with that of many municipalities in the United States to develop a Source Water Protection Plan (SWPP) for protecting and managing the supply of water to users and consumers, and is an initiative SRK has been working on with various industrial and mining clients.

The program has relevance for mining operations in understanding the vulnerability and sustainability of the water sources available to the mine, and the mine’s impact on water source sustainability, while effectively collecting and managing information on their interactions within the water cycle.

A central component of the SWPP program is the Source Vulnerability Assessment (SVA), which is the process of assessing the vulnerability of the current water resources available to the mine on the basis of assured quality and quantity, in understanding the demands and threats to the available water sources, and identifying and determining alternative water sources that may be available to alleviate any threats to the primary resources, considering both groundwater and surface water as potential resources.

SRK has extended the SVA to consider the performance of on-site raw water treatment, storage and distribution facilities, and wastewater management and treatment facilities relative to corporate, international and national performance specifications.

Moving on from the SVA, a SWPP is developed, setting out a site specific water management vision, objectives and goals, action plans to meet identified vulnerabilities, resource requirements, time lines and budgets, monitoring, communications with authorities and associated interested and affected parties, internal and external performance audits, and continuous review and updating.

Andrew Wood:

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