Hyacinths Removal Project – Hartbeespoort Dam

Since April 2017 in Excess of 500 000 tons of Wet-Weight Hyacinths have been successfully removed from Hartbeespoort dam by various harvesting teams. This figure excludes the totals removed by the various estates, shoreline owners and working for water teams around the dam.

Water hyacinth infestation reached epidemic proportions during the 2016/7 summer on Hartbeespoort Dam.

In February 2017 a community meeting was held and a Committee was formed with a mandate to consider how the nuisance factor of the alien plants could be removed.

Committee members included media and communication specialists, politicians, technical experts, finance and marketing representatives and legal professionals.

The technical subcommittee considered various methods of removing the water plants. It was determined that the preferable method would be mechanical removal as opposed to the administration of herbicides due to the dysfunctional consequences of water quality and pollution that the latter would result in.

A funding model was accepted and then given to the community.

Harties Foundation NPC 2017/263790/08 stepped in, in order to provide legal capacity and transparency. This being a non-profit company, manages the committee’s fundraising, funding, marketing and and contractual arrangements.

To date in excess of R 2 000 000.00 has been successfully raised from donor funding in order to make this project possible.

What is needed moving forward however, is a holistic approach on Hartbeespoort dam. Removal and containment of Hyacinths will be but, one aspect. Various role-players are currently engaging to see a sustainable approach being launched, which will include Hyacinths harvesting, and integrating a Weevil breeding program.  Litter-trap installation and maintenance, re-introduction of floating wetlands as well as control measures to help bring down levels of Cyanobacteria, algae and Salvinia Molesta.  This will all be done while creating much needed jobs.

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