Water shortages and rumours of rationing have brought home the sobering fact that that there is not enough clean fresh water to sustain Durban’s ever-growing population; and according to Lee D’Eathe the very source of this precious resource is very badly polluted.

Water quality and river health assessments undertaken again by the Palmiet River Watch in the first quarter of 2016 confirm this.

In his quest to improve the environment, Lee D’Eathe, who initiated and champions the action orientated environmental Palmiet River Watch organisation, presented the river health assessments and human waste (E.coli count) assessments at the Palmiet River Rehabilitation Project workshop, along with the key problems; which have been included in the recently distributed “Action Plan”.

The River Watch findings were also shared with Reshnee Lalla, KwaZulu-Natal Regional Co-ordinator: Invasive Species Programme SA National Biodiversity Institute, and her team, who spent a morning at the Palmiet Nature Reserve seeing fist hand how river health assessments are done.

Lee explained that eThekwini’s published Unicity River Quality Index maps that show much of the Palmiet River as ‘ACCEPTABLE’ are misleading since they are based on chemical analysis with no regard to sustaining life of aquatic creatures.

The miniSASS biological assessment, undertaken by the Palmiet River Watch, take the environment into account; and the ‘POOR’ and ‘VERY POOR’ results indicate a highly modified and polluted environment, due largely to sewage and industrial trade effluent contamination, as well as pollution from the Wyebank Municipal Waste Disposal site. The river health gets less poor at the Palmiet Nature Reserve, only to plummet to ‘VERY POOR’ again in the Quarry Road informal settlement.

The many very high E.coli count results along the 23 kilometres of river confirm sewage as the main cause of river water pollution, which ought to have been addressed proactively. This along with other factors contribute to polluting the water quality and destroying the riverine habitats.

Anyone interested in more details or becoming involved should contact Lee D’Eathe ~ The Palmiet River Watch. Cell: 0834615964 Phone: 0312623753 Email: businessunusuallee@gmail.com