Current Water Quality Risk Areas for Vaal, Pongola-Mtamvuna and Orange WMAs
The focus is placed on the WMAs located in the central region of the country, namely the Vaal, Pongola-Mtamvuna and Orange WMAs. These WMAs are predominantly of low to no risk, however, numerous significant risk areas were established for all of the WMAs and directly correlate with the extent of modification of water sources or areas. Significant risk areas were predominantly established downstream or within close proximity of urban centres, cultivated areas, mining developments as well as WWTWs. Anthropogenic activities play a major role in the degradation of water resources. WWTWs are especially of great concern for all of the WMAs as it is dominated by unacceptable to tolerable levels of most or all selected water quality parameters especially in terms of Faecal coliform. Most of the WWTWs facilities within these WMAs do not comply with set standards and can be attributed to these facilities being mismanaged, inadequate or in need of proper maintenance or upgrading. Proper sewage facilities are also needed to be developed for rural settlements. The WMAs could invest in the reuse of wastewater after it has invested in the upgrading or maintenance of current WWTWs as the reuse of wastewater could be seen as an untapped water source which could lessen pressure on catchments which are already experiencing a water deficit. Issues need to be addressed to avoid future significant environmental human health problems and risks especially within the Vaal and Pongola-Mtamvuna WMAs and the Upper Orange catchment due to the high concentration of the country’s population and economic activities.