Members of Parliament have heard that acid mine drainage is affecting the Vaal River system and causing problems in Mpumalanga and Limpopo. The Water and Sanitation Department has briefed Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on solutions to the problem, particularly on the Witwatersrand.
Pumping stations are removing scores of megalitres of dirty water from the western, central and eastern basins lying under Johannesburg. But newly appointed Director-General of the Department of Water and Sanitation Margaret-Ann Diedricks says a long-term solution is needed.
“We’re now at the point where we would like to take it into the next phase of desalination and we’re also looking at the appropriate technology to do that.”
Meanwhile, the Federation for a Sustainable Environment has strongly opposed a possible development of a coal mine near a Rand Water pump station in Vereeniging, south of Johannesburg.
This follows the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) reaction that one of the major water sources in South Africa that supply millions may be contaminated if the coal mine project proceeded.
The proposed Panfontein Colliery is set to feed Eskom’s Lethabo power station.
The federations CEO Marietta Liefferink explains:
“The Panfontein colliery coal mine will obviously result in a significant increase in the acid mine drainage to risk. Acid mine is not only high in salinity, is also contains toxic and potentially radio- active metals. It is imperative that the assessment is done of the equivalent impact of all the existing mines, historic mines and also new proposed mines.”