FRANCISTOWN: The current bad condition of Tati River is threatening its lifespan. Head of Water Quality Monitoring under the Department of Water Affairs (DWA), Saniso Sakuringwa, said this yesterday when officiating at the clean-up campaign of the river at the Old Francistown Stadium.
The two day river dredging clean up campaign ending today (Thursday) was held under the theme, “ Noka ya Tati ke ya rona” which translates to: “Tati River is ours.”
Sakuringwa called for everyone’s involvement towards conserving the river, saying its current state is not pleasing.
She revealed that about a decade ago the river was full of life and able to hold water for a longer period of time. “Currently the river is dirty with bushes and tall reeds that even expose people to danger since criminals hide in them.
These reeds also consume a lot of water thus contributing to the drying of the river,” she said.
She said the increase in urban population and industrialisation are presenting formidable challenges to the river.
Sakuringwa blamed excessive sand mining and illegal dumping of waste into the river as having contributed immensely to its current state.
She said both industrial oil and chemicals pose a major challenge to the river since they inevitably find their way into it especially during the rainy season.
“The toxic nature of these substances distorts the ecosystem because they kill a lot of organisms. The river is a source of life to the community of Francistown; please help us restore it back to its original state,” pleaded Sakuringwa. She said dumping of pollutants affects the growth of new plants and as a result has the potential of adversely causing floods due to reduced water holding capacity of the river.
She stated that it is evident that the river’s sand is being depleted especially along the stretch between Monarch and Blocks, which causes total degradation of the environment.
She further stated that sand mining has the potential to alter the river’s direction causing floods in the process.
The DWA regional manager, Galejewe Kago, who was also representing Tati River Management Committee (TRMC) echoed Sakuringwa’s comments and pleaded with the public to conserve it. Kago stated that their committee was formed to address the current situation of the river.
He disclosed that the river is in a good state from all of the seven villages that it passes though in North East District but in a different condition in Francistown, adding that this should concern the people of Francistown.
“It is your responsibility to make sure that the state of this river is brought back to normal and I hope that from here all of us will take part in helping this committee achieve its mandate,” said Kago.
Participants were advised that the Tati River snakes through many locations and eventually meets Shashe River before both rivers disappear into Limpopo River and is a source of water for about 18 million people.