Hartbeespoort Dam – The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) on Thursday said it was investigating the cause of death of large numbers of fish at the Hartbeespoort Dam in North West.
The incident occurred on the Hartbeespoort dam near Ifafi, at the Ifafi Aquatic Club and the Schoemansville Oewer.
Earlier this week a terrible scene met Ifafi Aquatic Club members.
On Tuesday morning, there were thousands of dead fish on the shore of Hartbeespoort Dam. Fish could be seen floating dead and dying among the hyacinth close to the shore.
Commenting on the catastrophe, the DWS said it was “aware of the recent incident of fish deaths at the Hartbeespoort dam in North West”.
The DWS said it was working with the Sefako Makgatho Health Science University (Medunsa) to investigate and analyse samples at the dam to determine the cause of the deaths, which occurred on Tuesday, (11 April 2023).
“A detailed statement will be issued once the investigation has been concluded,” the DWS said.
Hartbeespoort Optimum Fisheries and Research responded to the incident on Tuesday.
They conducted a brief assessment after which an aerator- a machine that pumps oxygen underwater – was brought, which improved the situation.?
“My suspicion is that these mass deaths are the result of a lack of oxygen in the water due to the dense hyacinth coverage,” said Casper Kruger of Hartbeespoort Optimum Fisheries and Research.
“I have been in contact with Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University to test water samples and perform tests on dead and alive fish.”
Some fish found alive at the site were removed and relocated to an offsite dam, where they recovered.
No further fish deaths have occurred since.
Regarding the problem of hyacinth growth at the dam, the DWS said it recently appointed its entity, Magalies Water, to develop a resource management and remediation plan for Hartbeespoort Dam.
“The aim is to address the poor water quality in the upstream catchment of the dam which leads to the pollution of the dam [lake] as well as to minimise and control the algae and hyacinths that compromises water quality and use of the dam,” the DWS said.
“A detailed statement will be issued once the investigation has been concluded.”