HARTIES CRISIS: Residents commit to rehabilitation

The crisis at Hartbeespoort Dam is receiving welcome support by members of the community who are committed to clearing the water hyacinth infestation, without the use of poisons.

On 10 October community members and the media were invited to the dam to see the clearing programme in action.
The Hartbeespoort Dam Rehabilitation Steering Committee has, during this phase of the removals, received little to no support from the Department of Water Affairs, which has given the committee until December this year to make an impact. Thereafter, the department will consider poisoning the invasive plant.
Poisoning is not ideal as other plants and animals within the ecosystem would also suffer and the dam would take several years to recover fully. It would also cause the dam water, which is currently clear, to turn green, as algae would feed on the rotting dead plants. The Department of Water Affairs has contributed two boats, which were repaired and made water-ready by the rehabilitation committee.
The committee has already raised in excess of R500 000, which has been used directly for removing the plants.
A plan to use the dried water hyacinths as compost and fire briquettes will also raise additional income for the project, once those become available.

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