a critical issue in Mpumalanga
with water requirements exceeding water availability in most parts of the province, resulting
in burdens on water resources.
|Water Availability and Use
(65%) of water resources available in Mpumalanga
comes from surface water resources, water transfers into the
province provide 19% of total water availability, groundwater contributes
6% of available water and return flows from mining, industrial,
irrigation and urban sectors contribute 10%. Water use
in South Africa is dominated by irrigation (DWAF, 2002a) and Mpumalanga
province is no exception with 46% of
its water being used for irrigation. The second largest
requirement for water is for water transfers to neighbouring
catchments and Water Management Areas(WMAs) which accounts for
16% of water use in the province, while
water use in the urban sector is slightly less (8%)
and requirements for the industrial, forestry and mining sectors each account
for 9% of the provinces water use.
Water quality indicators have shown a
general decrease in water quality over the past 6 years. Median
levels of surface water nutrients have increased and indicate a
potential for enrichment. The consequences of these
elevated levels are:
A greater potential
for algal blooms;
An impact on
riverine ecosystems; and
of human health.
High (and increasing) total dissolved solids
(TDS) levels in the Olifants and Usutu Water Management Areas (WMAs)
have the potential for decreasing the aesthetic value of the water.
Exceedance of the guideline levels for certain metals in the
Olifants WMA may be attributed to the numerous industrial activities
taking place in that area. At the WMA scale, high exceedances above
water quality guideline levels exist for pH
in the province.
|Water and Sanitation Facilities
Sanitation facilities in the four district municipalities in the
province require improvement as there are almost twice as
many pit latrines as flush toilets (only 31% of
households have access to flush toilet facilities) indicating a greater potential
for groundwater contamination contamination from these facilities, if not constructed of managed correctly.
Only 31% of households in the four districts within Mpumalanga have
access to piped water inside their houses. The provision of piped water
with the associated
drainage facilities does decrease the potential for an impairment
of water quality to rivers, streams and dams and
can decrease the health risk of infection
from water-borne diseases.
The number of cases of deaths in the
province due to cholera and typhoid (notifiable water-borne
diseases) have been used to indicate the possible impact of water
quality on human health. The decline in cholera cases in the
province is a positive indication of the improvement in water
quality. Similarly, cases of typhoid (another water-borne disease)
have also declined, showing an improvement in water quality and
The following indicators are
used to reflect the state of the water resources in