Con­cern a­bout Har­ten­bos Ri­ver

Mossel Bay Advertiser - - News - Nic­key le Roux

The Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum ar­gues t­hat the ri­ver wa­ter is un­fit for re­cre­a­ti­o­nal pur­po­ses and t­hat war­ning signs in­di­ca­ting such should be pla­ced al­ong the banks of the ri­ver.On 20 No­vem­ber the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum, a va­lu­ed part­ner of the Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in ad­dres­sing the chal­len­ges re­gar­ding the Har­ten­bos Es­tu­a­ry, sent the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty a let­ter sug­ges­ting t­hat the re­sults of a ri­ver wa­ter sam­ple which they had col­lected and had sent to a la­bo­ra­to­ry for a­na­ly­ses, in­di­ca­tes t­hat the Har­ten­bos

Es­tu­a­ry is un­fit for re­cre­a­ti­o­nal pur­po­ses.

In re­spon­se, the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty sent the re­sults to the De­part­ment of Wa­ter Af­fairs and Sa­ni­ta­ti­on (DWS); the B­reed-Gou­ritz Ca­t­chment Ma­na­ge­ment A­gen­cy (BGCMA) and the Gar­den Rou­te Dis­trict Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty and a­sked t­hat they in­ter­pret the re­sults and ad­vi­se on the ap­pro­pri­a­te way for­ward.

Low risk

The BGCMA de­ter­mi­ned t­hat the re­sults, w­hen com­pa­red to the South A­fri­can Wa­ter Qua­li­ty Gui­de­li­nes for Co­as­tal Wa­ters, in­di­ca­te a low risk to hu­man he­alth.

Blue Flag

Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty al­so in­for­med the Wild­li­fe En­vi­ron­men­tal So­cie­ty of Sout­hern A­fri­ca (WESSA), which is the im­ple­men­ter of Blue Flag in South A­fri­ca, of the si­tu­a­ti­on.

The Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum, with the sup­port of the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, sub­mit­ted a re­quest to the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs and De­ve­lop­ment Plan­ning (DEA&DP) for the bre­a­ching of the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver on 23 No­vem­ber.

T­his re­quest, ho­we­ver, was de­nied by DEA&DP and the­re­fo­re the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty could not pro­ceed with the bre­a­ching of the ri­ver.

C­hai­r­per­son of the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum P­hil­lip Ver­maak said the in­tent was to pre­vent a re­pe­at of the 2016 mid­get in­va­si­on.

"Furt­her­mo­re, the forum is wor­ried a­bout the ex­ces­si­ve fresh wa­ter in the ri­ver.

"For t­hat re­a­son, we im­plo­red the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs to ha­ve the ri­ver bre­a­ched du­ring the No­vem­ber full moon to ma­ke full use of the hig­her than nor­mal high le­ap ti­de.

"The de­part­ment de­cli­ned the re­quest wit­hout gi­ving re­a­sons for its de­ci­si­on. The forum has sin­ce in­sis­ted on a writ­ten, ur­gent ex­pla­na­ti­on for its de­ci­si­on. We be­lie­ve t­hat the de­part­ment's de­lay in fur­nis­hing writ­ten re­a­sons for de­nying per­mis­si­on to bre­ach the ri­ver is se­ri­ous­ly pre­ju­di­ci­al to our mem­bers and to the en­vi­ron­ment"

Mo­ni­to­ring me­a­su­res

Gi­ven the con­cerns rai­sed by the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum a­bout wa­ter qua­li­ty in both the ri­ver and sea, the Mos­sel Bay Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty will i­ni­ti­a­te se­ver­al me­a­su­res to en­s­u­re t­hat wa­ter qua­li­ty in the ri­ver and at the Blue Flag be­ach is a­de­qua­te­ly mo­ni­to­red:

• Week­ly a­na­ly­ses of sea wa­ter sam­ples from the Blue Flag be­ach we­re to com­men­ce on 26 No­vem­ber. T­he­se sam­ples will be tes­ted for e-co­li, pH and fa­e­cel strep­to­coc­ci. • Week­ly a­na­ly­ses of ri­ver wa­ter sam­ples by an accre­di­ted la­bo­ra­to­ry we­re to com­men­ce on 26 No­vem­ber. T­he­se will be tes­ted for e-co­li, pH, fa­e­cel strep­to­coc­ci and am­mo­nia • Dai­ly dis­sol­ved oxy­gen; sa­li­ni­ty; tem­pe­ra­tu­re; and pH sam­pling in the ri­ver will al­so com­men­ce upon com­ple­ti­on of the sup­ply chain ma­na­ge­ment pro­cess. The clo­sing da­te for ten­ders is F­ri­day, 30 No­vem­ber. The tes­ts should the­re­fo­re be­gin within the next week or two.

The sam­ple of wa­ter from the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver t­hat the Har­ten­bos Ri­ver Forum has sent for in­de­pen­dent tes­ts.

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