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The Department of Water and Sanitation Minister, Mr Senzo Mchunu, has made assurances that the Department, along with its entity in North West, Magalies Water, is working tirelessly to ensure the efficient rehabilitation of the Hartebeespoort Dam, which is affected by hyacinth and algae, and thus negatively impacting on the water quality of the dam.
Minister Mchunu was speaking during the century celebration of the dam on Monday, 27 November 2023 at the Oberon Eagle Waters Resort where he led a 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.
“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,” said Minister Mchunu.
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.
While addressing hundreds of people who joined the Department and partners to commemorate the centenary celebrations, Minister 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. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the county’s water infrastructure is safeguarded,” Minister Mchunu emphasised.
He further 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 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,” Minister Mchunu said.
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, private sector, and the community towards ensuring effective integrated water resource management in and around the dam.
The dam was constructed in 1921 and commissioned in 1923. The primary purpose of Hartbeespoort Dam is to provide water for irrigation. Roughly, 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, ballooning hang-gliding, parasailing and abseiling.
The centenary celebration was held in partnership with the Department’s entity in North West, Magalies Water, the provincial government and several other organisations such as the North West Parks and Tourism Board, South African Resource Heritage Agency as well as Magalie-Biosphere, amongst others.
Issued by the Department of Water & Sanitation