Current Water Quality Risk Areas for Limpopo, Olifants and the Inkomati-Usuthu WMAs
Focus is placed on the northern WMAs of South Africa which include the Limpopo, Olifants as well as the Inkomati-Usuthu WMAs. The Limpopo, Olifants and Inkomati-Usuthu WMAs were all found to be predominantly of low risk in terms of the selected physical and chemical water quality parameters but of concerningly high risk in terms of Chlorophyll a and Faecal coliform. Significant risk areas were, however, 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. WWTWs are of great concern for the whole northern region as most sampling stations recorded tolerable to unacceptable standards 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. This needs to be addressed to avoid future significant environmental human health problems and risks.