SAND RIVER CATCHMENT FORUM
Minutes of meeting held on Monday 4th October 2011 at 13h30 at the Alphen Council Chambers.
As per the attendence register.
1. Welcome / Apologies & Attendance Register
2. Approval of the previous Minutes
3. Action items from the last Minutes
4. Additional items under
5. Pollution Measurement and Analysis - Robert Siebritz.
The Scientific Department of City monitors the water quality for the entire City Metro - this includes some outlying dams and bulk storage dams, water treatments plants, waste water plants, marine outflows in a City with 19 rivers, 9 wetlands and lakes, and 52 bathing sites. They monitor all the catchments in the City of which Sand River is one of the biggest. The core function of the BIOLOGICAL lab is undertaking the physical, chemical and biological analysis of the water bodies in the City and interpretation of the data collected. There is a long list of the analyses that are undertaken and their laboratory is SANAS accredited for some of these.
There are many sampling points in Zandvlei measuring salinity, oxygen, suspended solids, pH, chemicals (e.g. phosphorus). These monitoring points have been increased through the new Zandvlei Management Plan. The increase of nutrient levels in Zandvlei is a constant threat to the ecology of the area. The proliferation of pondweed is good for the water as it keeps the algae in check, but this is affected by the salinity and not popular with the recreational users. The pondweed and its functionality was discussed.
In regard to the protocols, Cassie asked how relevant the 13 year old report (Bill Harding – biological report on the functioning of canals and water) was – it needs revisiting and perhaps to check inflow and outflow. Some of the canals in Marina da Gama have a strong hydrogen sulphide smell but on testing, was confirmed it is not sewerage. The canals have poor circulation and the smell is from layers of rotting vegetation!
Cassie advised that the after hours standby and environmental emergency number for Zandvlei is :
Action : Martin and Cassie to look at the old report (as well as a previous one that John Fowkes has a copy of) to check relevance.
6. Source to Sea update - Mandy Noffke.
Not much has happened since her last reporting. Her interim report has been submitted to the Table Mountain Fund, the main funder. Significant amount of information has been generated from an expert workshop and it is taking some time to format and collate. The data is being finalised and a spreadsheet is being created. From this we should get an idea of the priorities and what needs to be done. Mandy will be meeting with the operational level managers which will include civil society – green belts, City, Sanparks, invasive species etc.
Westlake River Rehabilitation
Project – Phindile Mangwana (WESSA) – this is part of the Source to Sea project which deals with riverine restoration of an area
which has been very degraded and has many invasive aliens. This has included litter and rubble removal, alien clearing and planting 50 indigenous species – the whole aim
being to improve the quality of the riverine corridor. Some good partnerships have emerged between
WESSA, City and local community. A R40 000.00 grant in aid was awarded and a donation of R750 received. The local school got on board and provided space – they are trying to establish a relation between the school and
WESSA – perhaps an Eco-School. Some of the challenges have been goats in the area foraging on the new plants, the removal of Acacia
longifolia and safety and health issues.
Action : It was agreed that some sort of formal arrangement is needed with the school. Martin Thompson to instigate – work towards January 2012.
7. Westlake River Pollution Tracking - Melissa Tang.
Another sampling has been taken from the shopping centre and they are keeping to the rules. There are two new sample points – the first after the fencing and they are dealing with the run off. The second point at the old stream where it has dried up. The sample taken from there was not good but they are still working on that. In future they should get more accurate readings from the northern side of the Westlake village. The 2 samples that were taken on previous occasions cannot be taken anymore as a fence has been constructed. The first new sample point is just downstream of the Steenberg Village bridge. It gives an idea of the pollution coming from the shopping centre. The sample shows good results.
At a third point, more southern at the school bridge, they got a good sample but the e.coli was high. The Pollsmoor outlet was found – sampled and found to be poor. Mr Adam de Vos from Pollsmoor being contacted to find out what is happening. However, the main problem is the Westlake Village and the nightsoil. The City is just instigating a new policy for backyarders and this will be addressed. Martin says that a solution for this may bea low flow diversion like at Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay.
Talcott added that his department has started cleaning out in the Westlake system and perhaps more accurate readings will be possible. Jean Fillis reminded them to watch out for tadpoles in the Prison area.
8. Westlake Wetlands - John and Sandra Fowkes.
See their report.
9. River Maintenance Challenges - Talcott Persent.
This department looks after storm water maintenance in the City, both formal and informal areas. The informal parts are becoming more demanding and they try to assist where they can. With regard to river maintenance, they try and go beyond just duty to make a difference. Talcott gave a presentation on the different types of equipment that are involved in his department – from the huge and very heavy to much smaller stuff. They also have a fleet of trucks which are currently used by various departments and can only be used by R&SW on the weekends.
They have developed a river cleaning maintenance manual in 2000 which includes different methods – manual, mechanical, biological, and chemical clearing and the impacts of the different methods.
Their challenges include shortage of specialised equipment as well as shortage of skilled operators, as the good operators are snapped up by the private industry, and supervisory staff to ensure that equipment is properly cared for. Other challenges are dangerous conditions and lack of quality and workmanship from hired equipment.
In the informal settlements like Masiphumeleli and Imizamu Yethu, they use local labour which brings its own problems like cash flow and lack of experience.
He believes that his district in the City of Cape Town should receive a different budget allocation to other districts as we have more rivers than any other district in Cape Town.
NB!! TELEPHONE NUMBER FOR STOLEN DRAIN COVERS : 021 700 2500.
10. Invasive Alien Management - Louise Stafford
Since her last report in January 2010, there has been some progress. Invase aliens include plants, animals and birds – none can be left out. With teams of 8, they are working City wide. One creature that has been targeted is the Indian House Crow. There are now 7400 less in the City and they are becoming harder to find as they are now bait shy.
The Mallard duck produces but they are not being killed by the City at this stage, nor guinea fowl. The City will never take a decision on its own to kill any animal or destroy any plant. As the Guttural toad is threatening the Leopard Toad, there is a national control programme.
If dense areas of aliens are not cleared, fires will result. Also, the invasives get more dense and more expensive to clear if they are not controlled.
Reflecting on highlights of the last year – got through to colleagues that they are not the experts and that all should work together to achieve more results. 12041 person days have been created and for every one permanent job, they create, there are 6 beneficiaries.
With regard to invasive plants, a City wide tender for four areas resulted in one contractor being appointed for each area. They are working across departmental boundaries which is now forcing them to follow up to prevent re-invasion. The early detection and rapid response section has a number of teams which looks for 19 species on a target list.
One success has been Redhill Informal Settlement which was cleared and the indigenous plants are returning.
Members of the public can register electronically as a volunteer spotter. They will get feedback, their spotting will be verified and confirmed. The website will be launched in 2 - 3 months. They are looking to partnerships in the nursery industries who agree not to sell invasive species, and to suggest suitable alternatives.
A number of inmates at Pollsmoor Prison who are about to be paroled are being trained to clear in the Westlake River. It is hoped that they can be employed by the IAS unit.
Looking ahead – we can expect;
Action : Louise to send an updated list of the 19 invasive target species to Martin who will circulate.
11. Next Meeting
Tuesday 31st January 2012 – at 13h30 in Room A at the Plumstead District Office, corner Victoria and Main Road.