Following the mass fish deaths in Hartbeespoort Dam in the past week, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) said on Friday the department had recently appointed Magalies Water to step in and develop a resource management and remediation plan for Hartbeespoort Dam.
“The aim is to address the poor water quality in the upstream catchment of the dam which leads to the pollution of the dam as well as to minimise and control algae and hyacinth that compromise water quality and use of the dam,” said DWS spokesperson Wisane Mavasa. She said the former successful Metsi a Me programme is being adapted to also focus on the upstream catchment which contributes to the eutrophication of the Hartbeespoort Dam. “It will now be managed by Magalies Water as an implementing agent for the next three years.” Magalies Water is expected to develop a short-term intervention plan to deal with hyacinth removal, review the algae management strategy and develop a catchment management plan to address water receiving into the dam. This implementation is expected to start as early as mid-May and will incorporate the Biological Control Programme managed by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE). Thousands of dead fish were removed from the dam the past week after residents woke up on Tuesday to masses of dead fish floating on the shore areas of Ifafi and Schoemansville. The Ifafi Aquatic Club and Schoemansville Oewer worked tirelessly the past week to remove dead fish and hyacinth in the area. Indications are that the deaths are the result of oxygen deprivation due to the dense hyacinth and pollution in the dam. Tests are currently being performed by the DWS and Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University.