Title page for ETD etd-04242006-153804

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Landu, Landu
Email landuL@mintek.co.za
URN etd-04242006-153804
Document Title Environmental LCA of water use in South Africa : the Rosslyn industrial area as a case study
Degree M (Applied Sciences : Environmental Technology)
Department Chemical Engineering
Advisor Name Title
Dr A C Brent
  • environmental burdens
  • water use
  • potable water production procedure
  • conservation of water resources
  • water supply system
  • unit processes
  • life cycle assessment
  • life cycle inventory
  • methodology
  • LCIA framework
  • water resources
  • toxicity potential
  • South Africa
  • Rosslyn industrial area
  • environmental improvements
  • life cycle
  • water supply
  • limitations
  • life cycle impact analysis (LCIA)
  • environmental life cycle assessment (LCA)
Date 2005-06-13
Availability unrestricted
International LCA literature indicates that little data is available pertaining to potable water production and supply, in particular with respect to the environmental burdens generated within the system. This study aims to investigate and assess the environmental burdens associated with the potable water supply to an industrial area (Rosslyn, north of Pretoria, in the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality). The procedure, as well as the assessment of the environmental impacts of a life cycle, is dependent on a comprehensive life cycle inventory (LCI) of the evaluated system. Water use is included in LCIs, which are incorporated into the LCIA procedure, as it reflects a direct extraction from available resources.

The water supply system diagram has been developed and data was collected, treated and analysed in the inventory analysis phase. The study closely followed the four phases as stipulated in the International Organization for Standardization (ISO 14040 series of standards) for conducting LCAs, including:

-- goal and scope definition;

-- LCI analysis;

-- LCIA; and

-- interpretation, conclusions and recommendations.

The methodology used in the impact assessment phase was the introduced LCIA framework for South Africa in order to determine the extent of different environmental impacts. The inventory analysis, conforming to the scope of the study, provided an overall inventory of energy and other resource requirements, emissions to water and air, dust fallouts and solid or liquid wastes for the system under study.

By using this methodology and by tracing all unit processes involved in the potable water supply system, the main contribution to the environmental burdens imposed on the potable water supply system was found to be the extraction of the required water from nature to supply potable water to Rosslyn.

The toxicity potential impacts on water resources, mainly due to the electricity required for the water supply system, are of minor importance. This conclusion is valid for the system investigated, and as a result, the recommendations for environmental improvements should focus on water losses that must be addressed foremost. What is required at this stage is strategic planning regarding the extraction, use and conservation of water resources. Furthermore, to optimise all processes of water extraction, and to make them more efficient, electricity and other energy inputs are also of importance, albeit to a lesser extent.

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