Duzi water quality ‘the best in 10 years’

2010-02-03 00:00

THE water quality of the Msunduzi River during this year’s Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe marathon was “possibly the best we have had in the last 10 years,” says a well-known local environmentalist.

Dave Still, chairman of Duct (the Duzi-uMngeni Conservation Trust), said, “The water quality measured by Umgeni Water (UW) on the actual race days, January 21, 22 and 23, was declared ‘excellent quality for canoeing’, according to UW’s grading system.

“The weather co-operated, monitoring of the river quality was stepped up and the two main municipalities involved, Msunduzi and eThekwini, pulled out the stops to get their sewer systems in order.

“We want to publicly single out the Msunduzi Municipality’s sewer maintenance section for the additional effort they put in to make this possible. We are by no means out of the woods yet, and there is still heaps of work to do on and around the rivers, but there is hope,” Still added.

Duct will survey the Dusi paddlers over the next few weeks to check how many experienced symptoms of “Dusi guts” during or after the race.

Describing the kind of work that still needs to be done on the river system, Still said: “Although the hyacinth and pistia was not as bad as in 2009, there is still far too much of it in the rivers. We will see what we can do in the year ahead to get that better controlled.”

Still paid tribute to the Water Affairs Department’s water quality directorate, which “de­finitely helped to keep everyone on their toes”.

The acting deputy director in this region, Pat Reddy, said: “We were very gratified to have the winners of both the men’s and women’s ra­ces say that it was the best water quality they had experienced for some time.

“An important element in the improvement of the water quality was getting the Msunduzi Municipality to come on board with efforts to clean up the river. We hold quarterly meetings attended by the municipal manager, deputy municipal manager … and other officials, which have gone a long way to helping address the problem areas. Regular monitoring has identified pollution hot spots, like pump stations and sewer breaks, and allowed us to put mitigating strategies in place.

“The municipality inspects industrial premises regularly and has fined several businesses for breaking the law.

“Although we are pleased with the improvement, obviously we need to keep working at water quality issues to make it even better. For example, we will hold regular river clean-up days, rather than just an annual event, and plan to get communities involved in monitoring and clean-up in places like Edendale especially. The ‘Adopt a River’ campaign will also be introduced in the Msunduzi Catchment area.”

CONTACT DUCT: 033 345-571

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