Water quality is of prime importance to Rand Water’s core business of ensuring a reliable supply of good quality drinking water to more than 10 million people. Rand Water has, therefore, implemented a water quality monitoring programme of the source water as well as the drinking water produced. The establishment of the Lesotho Highlands Water Transfer scheme necessitated the expansion of the monitoring programme. In 1996, Rand Water and Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) signed an agreement to jointly develop an extensive water quality monitoring programme for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Prior to this agreement, monitoring was mainly undertaken by consultants on behalf of LHDA in the main feeder rivers within the Katse Dam catchment (donor system). On the recipient system (Ash/Liebenbergsvlei), extensive physical and chemical monitoring was undertaken by Rand Water and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). Biological monitoring was however only carried out superficially prior to the release of water. Information gained from carrying out biological and chemical assessments clearly indicates that the water from LHWP has negatively impacted on the biological communities in the recipient system. The importance of detailed before and after biological and physio-chemical monitoring of both donor and recipient systems is emphasised.

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