Using the pollution-index method to assess water quality in the upper Olifants River Catchment, Mpumalanga Province.
Oberholster, Petrus Fredrik
MetadataShow full item record
The upper Olifants River catchment, situated in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa, is one of the main sources of water for this region. This region face challenges to guarantee future water security due to intensive land use activities e.g. mining, energy production, and agriculture activities. South Africa is the sixth largest producers of coal in the world and the Witbank (eMalahleni) coal fields, situated in the catchment, represents the largest conterminous area of active coal mining in South Africa. The second largest irrigation scheme (Loskop dam Irrigation Board) is also found below the Loskop Dam in the upper Olifants River catchment. The irrigation scheme of + - 480 km of irrigation channels provides water for a R1 Billion export industry of citric fruits to the European Union. Furthermore, the Olifants River in Mpumalanga is also a trans-boundary river that initially flows northwards before curving in an easterly direction through the Kruger National Park and into Mozambique where it joins the Limpopo River before discharging into the Indian Ocean. Although the Olifants River is one of the main river systems in South Africa, it has been described as one of the most polluted rivers in southern Africa, with Loskop Dam acting as a repository for pollutants from the upper catchment of the Olifants River system. Because Loskop Dam is of strategic important for the whole region the aim of the study was to show the implications of poor water quality on the local communities down stream of Loskop Dam that depend on water usage for their livelihood. (1) Developing a modified pollution index for the Loskop Dam, Mpumalanga Province using bioindicator algae species in relationship with water column physico-chemical parameters and national water guidelines as indication of pollution. (2) Analysing the threat of cyanobacteria, microsystin contaminations to crops irrigating by water from the Loskop Dam irrigation canals. (3) Discussing the social economic implication of water pollution on the Loskop Irrigation scheme and its stakeholders.