A situational analysis of a peri-urban catchment experiencing microbial water quality problems was carried out using data collected over two and a half years. The water and land use in the area was determined. The main sources of pollution were identified and the effects of dilution and bacterial die-off on water quality were evaluated by modelling the level of faecal coliforms along the length of the river using the QUAL2E model. As a result of the assessment, water quality goals were set for the catchment and suggestions were made for the improvement of microbial quality. Certain areas of the catchment are densely populated and both developed and informal settlements exist. Water is mainly used for domestic and recreational purposes. The river receives diffuse source discharges as well as point source discharges from four wastewater treatment plants and an industrial site. Assessment of indicator organism and pathogen analyses indicated that the main factors affecting the microbial quality were discharges from the sewage plants and runoff from informal settlement areas. The industrial activities in the catchment did not have a major effect. Modelling runs predicting faecal coliform levels demonstrated that bacterial die-off did not result in a significant improvement to the microbial water quality in the catchment.

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