South Africa’s Vaal River a pollution problem.

23 February 2012

Something very unusual but quite positive is happening in the South African press: four reports of water quality issues in one week! (see link).  Today we read of well-heeled landowners along Millionaires Bend on the Vaal River, south of Johannesburg, becoming very upset about their cesspool river frontage!  Does this mean the public is becoming more aware and the press losing their fear of the Department of Water Affairs?  Let’s hope it’s both!

As South Africa’s Minister of Finance said quite correctly yesterday in his Budget Speech, its time to reduce the number of bureaucrats sitting in offices and get more people working out in the field – or words to that effect.  Our Department of Water Affairs urgently needs trained and aware field officers across the entire country.  Desk-drivers are not going to attenuate infrastructure collapse and technical skills-shortages.

Algae are still a problem in some of Australia’s Gippsland Lakes:

Monitoring of the blue-green algal bloom in the Gippsland Lakes has shown that some parts of the bloom are declining to levels that are no longer harmful to human health.

Testing of algae in Lake King and Lake Victoria has shown three consistent readings below health warning trigger levels.

The signs warning against contact with the water will be removed from Loch Sport, Hollands Landing, Paynesville, Eagle Point and Metung, allowing people to return safely to the water in those areas.

Signs will remain in place around Lake Wellington and at Bunga Arm, Ocean Grange and Steamer Landing, where algae levels are still high enough to advise people not to come into contact with the water.

Testing of seafood from the Gippsland lakes has shown that the blue-green algae in the Lakes is producing a toxin which is being taken up by fish, prawns, mussels and crabs.

The Department of Health has advised that the toxin can affect liver function.

Also in Oz, residents of Broken Hill have been told that their water is safe to drink, despite the presence of algal blooms:

Blue-green algae has been found in Stephens Creek and Umberumberka reservoirs, but Broken Hill residents are being assured it is not affecting their drinking water.

Essential Energy says it has decided to take the town’s water supply from Imperial Lake, rather than Menindee.

Water operations manager Guy Chick, says Broken Hill residents might notice the water smells a bit different, but any algae is [sic] removed when the water is treated.



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