Water Wednesday: Government announces plans to combat the Vaal River pollution

The Vaal River, which is a major water resource around the country, has been in crisis mode for some time since the drought. Last year, there were reports of the water being poisonous and causing fish to die. Although the river has been recorded to be in full capacity, residents in surrounding areas have noted many issues that the government began investigating.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has finally announced a plan to combat these issues. Water and Sanitation Minister, Gugile Nkwinti today announced that an Implementation Protocol was signed on 29 March 2019 by his Department, COGTA in Gauteng, Emfuleni Local Municipality, South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA) and the East Rand Water Care Company (ERWAT).

“In terms of the Implementation Protocol, my Department appointed ERWAT, which is an entity of the Ekurhuleni Metro, as the implementing agent. As a wastewater specialist company, ERWAT will ensure that all wastewater treatment infrastructure is resuscitated to an operational state and that pollution in the Vaal River is stopped,” Minister Nkwinti said.

Minister Nkwinti indicated that R241 million has been allocated as capital expenditure for the project, whereby 250 youth and community members will be trained in plumbing, carpentry, brick-laying, paving and agriculture.

“SANDF will also train 2 000 youth and community members for different functions around the pump stations and wastewater treatment plants until and beyond the completion of the project, that is projected for March 2020,” he said.

Minister Nkwinti announced that Module 6 of the Sebokeng Wastewater Treatment Works will be completed in May 2019 and Module 7 will begin construction by July 2019. These modules will benefit 120 000 households living in the Southern part of the area.

Government’s new empowerment model will see them having a 50% stake in the projects and 30% of the project allocation goes to local community beneficiation, local procurement and local job creation, while 19% of the project allocation will go towards strategic partners.

Here is your weekly dam update: 

  • The Vaal River System consisting of 14 dams serving mainly Gauteng Sasol and Eskom dropped to 96.4%.
  • The Cape Town Dams System consisting of six dams serving mainly the City of Cape Town remain at 36.5% this week.
  • The Eastern Cape Dam System is at 62.3% while KwaZulu-Natal sits at 63%.

Here are the latest dam percentages throughout the country:

For a more in-depth rainfall update, visit WeatherSA or click here. For more information on the water storage levels across the country, visit the DWS site. For a comprehensive drought status report from the Department of Water and Sanitation, click here

Source: Capricorn Review