The more effective management of the Gerhard Minnebron as important resource of potable water for Potchefstroom
Sandenbergh Bekker, Thessa
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There is an ever–increasing demand for potable water in South Africa. The quality of surface and groundwater throughout many regions of South Africa has deteriorated over the past few years due to many forms of industrial and agricultural pollution. In order to comply with legislation and the basic human rights as set out in the Constitution of South Africa (RSA, 1996), the management and distribution of the potable water supply within South Africa needs to be addressed comprehensively (Nealer & Raga, 2008a:158). As a resident of Potchefstroom, the researcher has a keen interest in the water services of the city of Potchefstroom, the origin of the potable water, how the potable water resources are managed, how the water is distributed and finally the destination of the grey water. In this study, the researcher focused on the management of one of the important resources of potable water for the Potchefstroom area, the Gerhard Minnebron (GMB). The GMB is the largest natural fountain in the Southern hemisphere; yielding 60–80 mega litres of water per day (see Figures 1, 2 and 4 for the locality of the fountain). This fountain flows out of a dolomitic groundwater compartment that is part of the larger Boskop– Turffontein dolomite compartment (Winde, 2006). The geology and geo–hydrology of the area where the fountain is situated and surrounding areas make the GMB a very vulnerable resource with regard to exploitation and pollution from upstream water users. An empirical study was conducted with the relevant role–players in the current management of the GMB and stakeholders in the management of the GMB as important resource of potable water for the city of Potchefstroom and its residents. From this study, it was evident that knowledge concerning the GMB is limited, and the current management structures in place do not always function effectively so as to ensure the sustainable management and development of the GMB. Legislation on water services management in South Africa has come a long way since the early 1990s, but its application, however, is not yet in place in all areas of South Africa. From the research the researcher could arrive at some logical conclusions and make specific recommendations for the future management of the GMB that will assist in the efforts towards more effective management of the GMB as an important resource of potable water for Potchefstroom.
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