Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
THE quality of drinking water in Masvingo is heavily compromised by the discharge of partially treated effluent in the city’s water sources, an official has said.
In the latest quarterly report on the quality of water in the province, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) provincial manager Mr Robson Mavondo said the worst affected source is Shakashe River near Masvingo Teachers’ College where lower dissolved oxygen has been discovered.
He said the levels of dissolved oxygen were fluctuating around 45 percent saturation against a minimum requirement of at least 60 percent and this is an indication of the discharge of sewage effluent into the water source.
Mr Mavondo said the dissolved oxygen, which is conducive for aquatic life in Shakashe River has also given birth to hyacinth thereby affecting the quality of the water.
“The analytical results from the ambient monitoring during the second quarter show that the quality of ambient water in a particular area is affected by the operation taking place in that area .In areas around Masvingo City especially in Shakashe River near Masvingo Teachers’ College ambient water quality greatly deteriorated due to high levels of phosphates, which mainly result from the discharge of partially treated sewage and industrial effluent,” said Mr Mavondo.
He said according to a survey that the agency carried the quality of major water sources in the province leaves a lot to be desired and that calls for further treatment mechanisms.
“Around Renco Mine in Masvingo North, ambient water quality is affected by the presence of sulphates and manganese from the treatment of cyanide at the tailing dam.
“This in turn can result in bioaccumulation over a period of time due to exposure of these pollutants. In sugarcane growing areas like in the Lowveld the ambient of water quality is affected by organic wastes from ethanol and sugar production. It is also affected by the ingress of nutrients into the waterways due to massive fertiliser use,” he said.
Aquatic organisms require oxygen and they take it in dissolved form from the water. Dissolved oxygen levels can affect the types of animals found there and the way the river functions. If dissolved oxygen gets too low, certain species of fish cannot survive.