7 August 2018

South Africa: Water and Sanitation On Dead Fishes in the Vaal River

press release

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has been inundated with reports of fish kills in the Vaal River, especially at the Vaal Barrage and downstream. The department initiated a study in 2010 to investigate these fish kills. One of the findings is that most of the fish kills in the area is caused by chronic stress conditions due to the sustained lower oxygen concentrations, which is a result of natural variations.

Most of the investigations concluded that the fish kill were caused by seasonal weather changes whilst others were inconclusive mainly due to late reporting.

In the latest media inquiry dated 23 July 2018 regarding this phenomenon, preliminary investigations indicated the absence of any dead fish at the alleged site and that the incident occurred a week before where there was a drastic drop in temperature, however samples were taken for analysis and results are still pending.

In terms of the failing infrastructure at Emfuleni, the Department is carrying out its regulatory functions and support is being provided to the municipality.

To date the Department has issued 5 notices and 6 directives to the municipality in relation to the sewer spillages along the Sedibeng sewer scheme.

The DWS is also looking at finding additional funding for operations and maintenance, to complete the construction of Module 6, and complete the upgrade of Modules 1 - 5 which are not operating at full capacity.

The DWS is also cognisant of the process underway by the Gauteng Provincial Government in terms of Section 139; which process is still at the level of the National Council of Provinces.

Issued by: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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