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Work underway to clear hyacinth at Hartbeespoort dam

SENZO MCHUNU AND DAVID MAHLOBO

29th November 2023

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Work is continuing on the efficient rehabilitation of the Hartbeespoort dam, where hyacinth and algae have negatively impacted the water quality, assured Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu.

Magalies Water, in the North West, was appointed by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) for a three-year period to develop and implement a programme to deal with the invasive plant and the algae that is infesting the dam.

“We are aware of the hyacinth at the dam, and thus very concerned,” Mchunu said this week during the dam’s centenary and subsequent community engagement, along with senior officials from Magalies Water and Madibeng local municipality, which provided an update on the work which is being carried out to clear the hyacinth from the dam.

Magalies Water developed a bioremediation plan with interventions such as the profiling and fingerprinting of problematic contaminants in the dam, the removal of floating plants and debris from the dam to enhance the aesthetic value and allow for biogeochemical processes and the implementation of the remediation technology to restore the dam’s ecological services.

“I want to ascertain our commitment that we have indeed rolled up our sleeves to completely rehabilitate the dam. We also want to thank the organisations that continue to help out in any way they can and continue to hold us accountable in the work that we have been brought in the office to do. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the county’s water infrastructure is safeguarded,” said Mchunu, emphasising commitment to overseeing the effective implementation of the bioremediation plan.

He further reiterated the DWS’s stance on the need to strengthen and enhance strategic partnerships in the sector to resolve Hartbeespoort dam’s water quality challenges, including issues of solid waste and water pollution, and encouraged all civil society organisations to work together with the department as work continues towards rehabilitating the dam.

Hartbeespoort dam, which was constructed in 1921 and commissioned in 1923, primarily to provide water for irrigation, marked 100 years of existence in September.

About 80% of water is used for irrigation and the balance is used for domestic consumption and compensation flows.

Further, the dam itself and the surrounding area offer tourism activities such as recreational boating, angling, mountain sports and a variety of other activities such as hiking, angling, ballooning, hang-gliding, parasailing and abseiling.

The centenary celebration was held in partnership with Magalies Water, the provincial government and several other organisations, including the North West Parks and Tourism Board, the South African Resource Heritage Agency and the Magaliesberg Biosphere Reserve, besides others.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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