Residents of Venice Village were alarmed last weekend when they noticed fish in distress at Hartbeespoort Dam. According to Kormorant, large carp were floating to the surface of the canals, gasping for oxygen. This event is the second time in recent months, with thousands of fish dying at the Ifafi Aquatic Club just last month.
As soon as residents realised what was happening, they took action. First, they contacted the Ifafi Aquatic Club, which provided pumps to increase oxygen in the water. Then they got into the water to remove as much hyacinth as possible. Although some fish have died, the rest seemed to recover after using the pumps.
Kormorant contacted the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). As a result, Magalies Water sent a team to investigate and perform water tests. Following the mass fish deaths in April, the DWS had recently appointed Magalies Water to develop a resource management and remediation plan for Hartbeespoort Dam. The project aims to address the poor water quality in the upstream catchment of the dam, which leads to the pollution of the dam, as well as to minimise and control algae and hyacinth that compromise water quality and use of the dam.
According to DWS spokesperson Wisane Mavasa, Magalies Water has already started the project. The hyacinth removal and other stakeholders will be involved in addressing the dam’s water quality and hyacinth infestation. Magalies Water will develop a short-term intervention plan for hyacinth removal, review the algae management strategy, and develop a catchment management plan to address water received into the dam. The project will also incorporate the Biological Control Programme managed by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DFFE).
The recent fish deaths have raised concerns among residents, who fear for the future of the dam and its aquatic life. They hope Magalies Water’s developing remediation plan will address the problem’s root causes and prevent further fish deaths.