Pretoria – The acidic mine water that has been running into the Vaal River Barrage is salinising the whole system down from the Vaal Dam to such an extent that it will be unusable within four to five years, claims a government report.
Ways to make the pollution less concentrated by regularly letting water out of the Vaal Dam are now being considered, the report states.
According to experts, this could however lead to a big shortage of drinking water in Gauteng.
That is why the cost of purifying the acidic mine water is being investigated to supplement the water in the Barrage.
The report, Integrated water quality management for the Vaal River System, was compiled by the Department of Water Affairs along with Eskom, Sasol, Rand Water, AgriSA, the Department of Agriculture and the Chamber of Mines.
It is the first time that the report has been made public.
The report clearly states that South African taxpayers will have to carry the burden of the “profitable” gold mining industry of the past for the rest of their lives.
Taxpayers will initially have to pay R3.4m to build a plant to catch 120 years of acidic mine water on the Witwatersrand.