The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), together with the Gauteng provincial government, the Sedibeng district municipality and the Emfuleni local municipality say they remain seized with finding solutions to deal with pollution of the Vaal river.
The Vaal river and Vaal dam, as critical parts of the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS), must be kept as free of pollution as possible, especially considering that the IVRS is central to the Gauteng economy, the country, as well as the Southern African Development Community region and African continent, the DWS said in a statement on Tuesday.
Technicians are back on site and are attending to issues, notwithstanding that it will take a while to have the system working optimally, the statement further read.
R20-million has been availed to the Emfuleni local municipality in this regard.
The Emfuleni local municipality is, meanwhile, currently working to return water treatment plant modules two to five to full functionality.
The functioning of module six, which stakeholder Rand Water is working on, will bring further capacity on stream for the treatment of effluent.
Normality will return once all modules operate optimally, the DWS said.
Optimal water resources management, including the protection of rivers from pollution, and the monitoring of water quality remains at the top of the DWS’s priorities, the department added.
“Protecting our water resources requires a community-led approach to protecting our rivers, wetlands and catchments. In this regard, we encourage the public to be actively involved in the management of water resources.”
Water availability can be increased through the removal of alien invasive plants, environment-conscious communities, pollution-free rivers, as well as the conservation of water and the fixing of leaking taps.
“While all of the work, as indicated, continues, we encourage affected communities not to drink or swim in water from polluted dams and rivers, especially when there is foam in the water or a bad colour or smell,” the DWS said, highlighting, however, that water delivered through municipal taps is still safe to drink.