Adopt a River

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 21 March 2010

River pollution remains one of the biggest challenges in South African water resources. The Department of Water Affairs, in collaboration with the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Water Research Commission (WRC), co-hosted an event under the theme Adopt-a-River, which is part of the River Health Programme; a nation-wide monitoring initiative for assessing the health of rivers in the country that was started in 1994.

Plankenburg River

The Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, launched the Adopt-a-River Programme at the Spier Conference Centre, next to the Eerste River, which is fed by two tributaries, Kuilsriver and Plankenberg, both highly polluted by sewage from informal settlements, industries and agricultural practices along its banks.

The objective of the Adopt-a-River Programme is to create awareness among South Africans to care for our scarce water resources and to actively participate in their protection and management.

The launch was part of the National Water Week 2010 events, and was combined with the launch of a 500m march to the banks of the Eerste River under the theme Walk for Water’; a communication campaign to raise awareness of conservation and protection of our scarce water resources.

After taking samples from the Eerste River, the Deputy Minister and the Executive mayor, Nompumelelo Hani demonstrated to the participants the use of the MiniSASS (South African Scoring System); a scientific tool used to monitor the health of a river, to measure the general quality of the water and to score the quality of that river’s water.

The event ended with a commitment made by the Winelands District Municipality’s Executive Mayor, Nompumelelo Hani to adopt the Eerste River and set an example for other neighbouring rivers. ”If the councillors do not keep their promises they can be taken to court ”says the Deputy Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi.

– Bonani Madikizela [edited by Saving Water SA]

Source: Water Research Commission

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