Holidaymakers will soon enjoy Harties Dam waters again as minister kicks off water rehab programme

Hartbeespoort Dam. Picture: File

Hartbeespoort Dam. Picture: File

Published Dec 2, 2023


Holidaymakers and residents, who depend on the Hartbeespoort Dam for their leisure and water, will soon enjoy splendid views and clean drinking water courtesy of the dam that has been plagued by invasive algae and hyacinth for the past few years.

This week, Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu revealed that he has teamed up with Magalies Water and other stakeholders to ensure efficient rehabilitation of the Hartbeespoort Dam.

According to reports by Magalies Water, this rehabilitation programme aimed at ridding the dam of invasive plants and algae will be completed by June 2024.

The minister attended the dam’s 100th anniversary celebrations on Monday after the water utility was appointed as a service provider to deal with the dam’s compromised biosphere.

Speaking to 702, Associate Professor of Botany at Rhodes University, Julie Coetzee, said water pollution is caused by chemical deposits from interconnected rivers.

“This pollution problem is not a Harties Dam problem, but it is pollution coming from Johannesburg and from Pretoria and largely from the Crocodile River. This is caused by fertilisers, sewage and other implements rich in chemicals such as nitrate and phosphate, and that is why we have hyacinth and algae in Harties Dam,” she said.

In an address at the dam’s birthday celebrations at the Eagle Waters Wildlife Resort, Mchunu said plans are under way to rid the dam of the effects of hyacinth.

“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,” the minister said.

He further indicated that Magalies Water has since developed a bio-remediation plan comprising 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 bio-geochemical processes, as well as the implementation of the remediation technology to restore the dam’s ecological services.

“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 into the office to do. We all have a responsibility to ensure that the county’s water infrastructure is safeguarded,” the minister added.

Hartbeespoort Dam was officially opened in 1923 and has become a tourist destination for Johannesburg, North West and other tourists coming from Pretoria and other destinations as it is central to travellers from diverse directions.

It is located 35km from Johannesburg and 20km from Pretoria as well North West with the minister also commending the dam’s rich heritage and structural integrity all contributing to the region’s tourism and popularity.

“It’s a milestone celebrating the dam, its structural integrity is still intact and it contributes to tourism in the North West province,” the minister said.

It has been reported that residents of Madibeng Municipality, which is a Tswana name meaning a place of water, have been struggling to access clean water for a long while.

However, Mchunu said in the light of the recent efforts to rehabilitate the dam, this will soon be a thing of the past.

“Water shortages in the Madibeng Municipality will be a thing of the past. They have launched 27 projects which are expected to tackle challenges associated with water in the North West.”

According to Magalies Water, the dam should be free of the current problem as early as June next year.

Saturday Star

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