The Department of Water and Sanitation said last week it is currently in the process of reinstating its integrated biological remedial programme at the Hartbeespoort Dam to combat the hyacinth.
Hyacinth currently covers about 50% of the dam The department’s spokesperson Wisane Mavana said the hyacinth has spread its coverage of the dam from 5% to 45% in less than two months. “The Department of Water and Sanitation is in the process to reinstate the Hartbeespoort dam integrated biological remedial program to deal with the hyacinth that has recently grown excessively after the intense rainfall and flooding at the catchments since November 2022. The program will be implemented through a newly instituted model that will incorporate more public and corporate involvement and support.” In the time period 2006 to 2016 the department effectively implemented an integrated biological remedial programme through Rand Water and the Metsi a me Programme and had seen an improvement in the condition of the dam. “The remediation programme consists of interdependent modules including water quality management, and catchment management and control (harvesting and chemical control) of invasive species, intended to ensure that the department meets the objective of changing the state of the Hartbeespoort Dam towards the desired state,” she said. DWS will be working with the Centre for Biological Control which tries to fight the hyacinth with biological control agents. “In parallel with Metsi a me, the insect breeding and release program from DFFE through the Centre for Biological Control (Rhodes University) that worked very effectively, will continue together with the Metsi a me programme.” The DWS has also issued a water use authorisation for the Harties Foundation for the removal and composting of these plants and has assisted in providing some cables and rope to assist in the trapping of these plants together with a lease agreement to compost the removed material. “The current environmental legislation prohibits the live transportation of these species to prevent further invasion in other areas.” “We are currently working on further interventions that would see short-term improvement of the dam and will engage the stakeholders around the dam for further suggestions and possible partnerships as well as a phased approach to reinstate most of the aspects as was done with the Metsi a me Programme in parallel with DFFEs biological control programme.”