Our River Study
Where the River Runs - Mpophomeni
The name of the tributary that I studied is called Mthinzima (but people from Mpophomeni call it Wayipotoza). The source of the river is at a place called Mashingeni (pronounced Mahshihngheni) which is near Mpophomeni Town Ship. It runs down on the out skirt of the Town Ship, near Makopane (houses built by mud) where the people who lived there had been the victims of the recent flood. Their houses were washed away by floods of this river in December 1999 caused by heavy rain.
These floods claimed 3 lives on this disaster. There where many victims who lost everything they own, including their clothes, food, furniture etc. These victims were given tents to live in for the time being. This river is filthy because people from Makopane (who live there illegally) are just littering in and near the river.
Threats to the River - Upper Section [BACK TO TOP]
Informal settlements near the streams are a threat to the quality of the water in the river. During winter when there is less water flow the e-coli bacteria ( Escherichia coli found in enormous numbers in faeces) builds up in the streams and then with the first rains this water gets flushed into the dams. However a dam like Midmar is big enough for this not to be a serious threat.
On the positive side there have been hundreds of new housing units built recently in Mpophomeni which have waterborne sewerage and so there are now fewer families living in informal housing alongside the river which will help the quality of the water in the river.
Our River Tests [BACK TO TOP]
Mpophomeni High School Environment Club has been testing the quality of the stream which flows through Mpophomeni for four years now. We have noticed that the banks of the river are being eroded each year and animals cross the stream daily to get to grazing. There was a big problem of dumping of rubbish on banks in 1999 but the club did a clean up and it has stayed clean. Each time we have looked for animals which live in the water the results indicate that there is some pollution in this stream but it is not severe. We use materials which involves counting how many different types of organisms you can find in the water.