Work underway to clear hyacinth at Hartebeespoort Dam

South Africa – The Department of Water and Sanitation is working tirelessly to ensure the efficient rehabilitation of the Hartebeespoort Dam .

The dam is affected by hyacinth and algae .

This is according to the Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu who spoke at the centenary celebrations of the dam on Monday .

Hartebeespoort Dam marked its 100 years of existence in September this year .

The centenary celebration aimed to increase the awareness of integrated water resource management and water quality, as well as enhance relations between government, the private sector, and the community towards ensuring effective integrated water resource management in and around the dam .

Mchunu, together with senior officials from the department’s entity in North West, Magalies Water and the Madibeng Local Municipality, led a community engagement, where they provided an update on the work being carried out to clear the hyacinth from the dam .

“We are aware of the hyacinth at the dam, and thus very concerned .

It is for this reason that we have appointed our entity in North West, Magalies Water, for a period of three years to develop and implement a programme that will deal with the invasive plant and the algae that is infesting the dam,” Mchunu said .

Magalies Water has since developed a Bioremediation Plan comprising of interventions which include, the profiling and fingerprinting of problematic contaminants in the dam, removal of floating plants and debris from the dam to enhance the aesthetic value and allow for biogeochemical processes, as well as the implementation of the remediation technology to restore the dam’s ecological services .

Addressing hundreds of people who joined the department and partners to commemorate the centenary celebrations, Mchunu emphasised his commitment to overseeing the effective implementation of the Bioremediation Plan .

“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,” Mchunu said, adding that everyone has a responsibility to ensure that the county’s water infrastructure is safeguarded .

He also reiterated the ministry’s stance on the need to strengthen and enhance strategic partnerships in the sector, which are aimed at resolving water quality challenges of the Hartbeespoort Dam, including issues of solid waste and water pollution in the dam .

“I would therefore like to encourage all civil society organisations to work together with us, as we work towards rehabilitating the dam .

The Hartebeespoort Dam was constructed in 1921 and commissioned in 1923 with the primary purpose of providing water for irrigation .

Approximately 80% of water is used for irrigation and the remainder is used for domestic consumption and compensation flows .

The dam itself and the surrounding area currently offers tourism activities such as recreational boating, angling, mountain sports and a variety of other activities such as hiking, angling, parasailing and abseiling .

The centenary celebration was held in partnership with Magalies Water, the provincial government, and various organisations, including the North West Parks and Tourism Board, South African Resource Heritage Agency, as well as Magalie-Biosphere .

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