Zandvlei Trust

SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM

Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 at 13:30 in Room A, Plumstead Office (Plessey Building)

Present
M Thompson                      CoCT: CSRM      (Chairman)
Linda Scholtz                     CoCT: R & S       (Minutes Secretary)
Jemma Wheatley                CoCT: Disaster Risk Mgment 
Gavin Lawson                     ZVT 
James Rawlings                  FOCVGB 
G Smith                             CoCT: City Parks 
M Vulindlu                          CoCT: Scientific Services 
M Walsh                            CoCT: ERM 
Suretha Dorse                    CoCT: ERM 
Candice Haskins                CoCT: CSRM 
Melissa Tang                      CoCT: WPC 
John Green                         WESSA: ZAPO 
James Forsyth                    FOTP 
Jean Fillis                           F of Kirstenhof Wetlands 
Erica Hobbs                        F of Kirstenhof Wetlands 
Heidi Nieuwoudt                  SANBI 
Cassy Sheasby                  CoCT Biodiversity 
John Fowkes                      ZVT 
Sandra Fowkes                  ZVT 
Chandre Rhoda                  CoCT: Invasive Species 
Louise Stafford                   CoCT: Invasive Species 
Liz Brunette                       Councillor: Ward 62 
Sandra Hollermann             TMNOP 
Brian Ratcliffe                     Constantia Valley Greenbelt 
Talcott Persent                   CoCT: R & S 

Apologies
Sharon MCallum 
Philippa Huntley 
Prof Denis Davey 
Lee Leith 
Cllr David Dalton 
Leon Swartz 
Mandy Noffke 
Louise Kinrade

As per the attendence register.

1. Welcome / Apologies & Attendance Register.
The Chairman welcomed those present to the meeting and handed out copies of the agenda and previous minutes.

2. Approval of the previous Minutes.
No amendments to the previous Minutes.

3. Action items from the last Minutes.
There were 2 Action Items:
(i) Westlake Management - looking at improving the quality before it reaches Zandvlei.
Cassy explained that it is quite a contentious issue as the Wetland area is of primary concern because there is not much flow in the water. Because of this the Wetland cannot function and be purified naturally. She had a meeting with E Moll and Kirstenhof area. A burning application permit was submitted to the Fire Department so that they could see what is happening underneath the reed bed. This has not been very successful.
Burning applications were submitted where it would have been much easier to burn and she received one back – stamped unsuccessful.
This area would be much more difficult as reeds burn very hot and easily which would be hazardous with the railway and houses being in close proximity. It would be a massive operation with Traffic and other departments involved. If this is to prevent a potential disaster then Disaster Management would also get involved.
The Chairman (MT) suggested that a permit is put together with full motivation and an enquiry is made to meet with the Fire Department. Disaster Management would also have to be involved. A few dates to be considered so that a meeting could be arranged. Mr John Fowkes agreed to go along. 
The Chairman invited all to email any further suggestions to him.
(ii) New Westlake school
The contact person is a teacher named Cameron James who is in contact with Lindie Buirski (Building Capacity and Training) of ERM. Patrick Dowling of WESSA has also agreed to meet with them. Hopefully this will develop into a sound environmental partnership with the school.

4. Additional items under General.
none added.

5. Water Quality Report - Candice Haskins.
Candice presented a very informative and detailed water quality report for this Catchment.
The reporting was for Zandvlei, Marina da Gama and Westlake Wetland, Die Oog, Little Princessvlei, Langevlei and the various rivers. The report indicated various bacterial levels and the quantity of algae in these systems. Salinity levels in Zandvlei were also presented.

Copies were handed out and is available here.

6. Understanding Bacteria – Mjikisile Vulindlu.
An interesting presentation was done by Mjikisile which he introduced with the common Water Cycle.
Following are a few facts that he highlighted:

  • This topic is of utmost importance to expand our thinking on water pollution and bacteria

  • Various sources and pollutants were discussed which cause elevated bacteria levels in water

  • Stagnant water

  • Health effects caused by faecal pollution

  • Infections caused by water borne diseases

  • Sewerage discharges into the water

  • Stormwater system or pipeline where there is a buildup, needs to be cleaned regularly

  • Open channel water

  • Bacteria multiplies when the nutrients have the temperature which is conducive for proliferation

  • Useful Indicators for Water recreation

  • Other sources of bacteria beside sewerage are birds, animals etc.

See a copy of the presentation.

7. Westlake River Pollution Tracking - Melissa Tang.
Samples are taken at various points – a quick update on the Westlake River;

I. Shopping Centre has been sorted out – ongoing monitoring required.
II. Problem from the housing development – where a lot of contaminated grey water is discharged via the stormwater to the river.
III. Below School bridge – stormwater outlet from the low cost housing – reading of 840 000 cfu/100ml
IV. Outlet – Pollsmoor Prison – A milky discharge was observed which could not be analysed. A new sample will be taken an scientific services will undertake a different analysis method.
V. Pollsmoor reading was 24 000 cfu/100ml.
VI. Jean Fillis noted that she had spoken to the Councillor with regard to services for the many backyarders in the housing area.

Martin said that there is a programme in place for backyarders however it is a long term process. Melissa will keep checking on these points.

8. History in the Catchment - Introduction - James Forsyth.
James Forsyth presented some interesting maps dating back to 1902. He pointed out some historical facts on these maps. These are some of the issues mentioned:

  • Boundary - road to Wynberg

  • Rhodes Farm

  • Stream - drinking water for Manor House (Prins Kasteel)

  • Sweet Valley

  • Palmiet Vlei – area for Asylum

  • Manor House taken over by Forestry Department

  • Reformatory

  • 1902 - drawn up by Henry Forcade who attended SACS and became a Botanist

  • Modern version – Convict station – Convicts were used to plant trees

  • 1902 - Prison authorities took over

  • Stream - Paddock valley

  • Picture of dam

  • Maths & Science Centre

  • Boers from Cape Colony

  • 2 Convict Stations

  • Plan for the Forest

  • Vineyards Bergvliet Farm

  • Cassy’s walkway

Martin thanked James for his input.
Martin enquired whether this lady who put the historical facts together could put something together regarding the rivers.

See the presentation here.

9. Integrated Sand River Catchment Management Plan (Alien Invasives) – Louise Stafford.
The presentation was very informative and enlightened everyone regarding their work with the alien vegetation clearing. A lot has happened since she last attended the Forum.
The Kader Asmal Project. The more that people know about this project the better they will understand. R5m has been allocated for the clearing of alien plants on Council owned land;

  • Budget has to be spent by June 2012 - R5m for wages for Integrated Projects

  • A contingency plan - R9m additional funding over the next three years.

  • Our water is in trouble.

  • Do not recognise boundaries

Background
Historically the departments are all doing their own thing, eg with the removal of aliens. Contractor expertise is appalling and it is unsustainable. Integrated Catchment Management means working together at different levels.

Principles

  • Systematic approach – cannot take cognisance to each individual request

  • Improve ecosystem health

  • Maximise job opportunities

  • Need a system for sustainability

  • Create 400 job opportunities – what then?

  • Funding of R9m for next 3 years

Spreading the message

  • How do we spread the message effectively? Through Education and Awareness campaigns

  • Friends groups

Networking

  • Roads network – this is where we have control. Where we access – land owners will follow.

  • Since January Total 82 jobs - sourced from local labour.

  • Trained team is brought in and local labour is used. Those that remain after a period are used as team leaders.

  • Pollsmoor is Chandre’s project: Inmates at Pollsmoor are used – commitment to absorb them into the team once released.

  • Westlake – Water safety training and pep talks.

Monitoring all sites

Integrated control methods;
Chemical, mechanical or other – all methods have to be assessed.
A question was asked if anyone falls ill? Chandre uses Kendal Road Clinic. Water safety training and hygiene precautions are encouraged.

Challenges

  • Louise called on the Councillors for their support as there are some unrealistic expectations.

  • Conflict of interest – does not exist in this catchment area as Talcott knows exactly what is required

  • Funding cycles – 2- 3 month gap (until end of June).

  • Unskilled labour teams

  • Team work –this is very important.

Questions:
Cassy: what are we doing about the Mexican Water Lily?
There are 18 species that are emerging weeds.
Jean enquired: should we not get to the rivers before April rainy season?
The City’s Operational budget would also be available over and above the R5m allocation.

Compliments and thanks were extended to Louise and Chandre on what they are doing.

10. General.
The Chairman invited all to forward any proposed topics for further discussion which could take place at future meetings.
The meeting ended at approximately 16:05.

11. Next Meeting.

8th May 2012 – Venue to be confirmed. The Tokai Research Centre was proposed as a suitable venue.

                                                                                                                                               

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