Tunatazama - Community Monitors

Private dams block the flow of water to farmers – A VEJA Investigation

Mdu Tshabalala/ VEJA/ Vaal/21st July 2016

Mr. Erasmus and his daughters Michelle and Samantha Erasmus are residents in Klipriver complaining about the dry river passing by behind their back yard. According to the Erasmus family, residents from Blue Ranch Saddle (an Estate property within their nearby) have built dams blocking the flow of the river towards their direction. The complainant “Michelle Erasmus” mentioned that her father took the issue up with Midvaal Water Affairs, and only to find that Mr.Van de Westhuizen manager at Rand Water, Vaal Barrage gave permission for the dams to be built.

As a VEJA activist , I reported their issue with the Blue Scorpion at Water Affairs.Today visited the Erasmus’ farm and while investigating there we went inside the Blue Saddle Ranch Estate and saw two   dams at estate no. 93 and 94, inside people’s property and owners were not available for comments.

We spoke to the owner of estate no.94 who said she had bought the property already with a dam existing, and that since she had been a resident there for the past 4yrs her suspicion is that the river is drying due to a drought situation.

We had to make an appointment and follow up with her and the other people in the area. We saw another dam in a yard at estate no. 95 but not yet owned as it is an empty stand, but big holes were dug.

According to Lindelani a Blue Scorpion official from Dept. Water and Sanitation said that the holes could be a process whereby a geotechnical test of the soil to determine whether a construction of a specific kind would be suitable. Further he recommended that by observations the river drying could b a natural process and that even when we look from upstream there are dams and one would still find water flowing downstream and there are other dams downstream (though the water table has lowered).

VEJA will continue its  investigation of this  issue.Private20160722