Palmiet River on the brink – 16 Oct 2013

The Palmiet river is in a very poor state, according to the Palmiet River Watch
ADULTS and children alike were fascinated by the range of insects and animals they found in the Palmiet River water on Saturday. Nine different species were found in the river when the Palmiet River Watch conducted river health assessments at the weekend.
This followed a presentation where the enthusiastic participants were taught by environmental consulting company GroundTruth how to undertake river health assessments by identifying 13 groups of river life which constitute the miniSASS (Stream Assessment Scoring System).
Under the watchful eye of Anelile Gibixego and Mahomed Desai from GroundTruth, the river health was calculated, and a sample of water was taken for later laboratory analysis.
Lee D’Eathe who initiated the Palmiet River Watch said the life forms gathered from the river and later released were used in a simple formula which showed that the condition of river health is extremely poor.
“Gibixego pointed to the algae growth which covered the sand and rocks confirmed that the Palmiet river is in a very poor state. This was just one of many assessments that will be taken over time in an on-going community exercise to monitor the health of the Palmiet River and make everyone aware of the plight of our environment,” he said.
Municipal officials registered their support and confirmed that the river watch community reporting was contributing positively to their work success. Sheila Schulte recalled the signs at the Cascades that had warned bathers not to swim because of the danger of bilharzia, and Chris Fennemore, who has had bilharzia, advised people to be cautious as the water could, at times, have very high levels of pathogens and parasites.
“In the last few weeks there have been reports of repeated pollution including raw sewage, silt deposits, detergents and chemical waste which had changed the colour, clarity and smell of the river and caused bubbles and foam.
The very existence of an active Palmiet river watch community is a deterrent in itself, as polluters will now be held accountable,” said D’Eathe.
Anyone interested in committing to improving the river environment can contact Lee D’Eathe on 083 461 5964 or

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