Collaborative transboundary water quality monitoring :a strategy for Fezile Dabi District Municipality and its neighbours
Van Zyl, André Stephmar
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The geographic location of Fezile Dabi District Municipality is unique in the sense that it is one of five district municipalities in the Free State Province that borders on five district municipalities and three provincial boundaries. The Vaal River, a valuable domestic, industrial and agricultural water resource for millions of South Africans, forms one of the administrative boundaries of this district municipality and of the Free State Province. However, despite the vital role the Vaal River plays in the Fezile Dabi region, there is poor water management and assessment system in place. There is a lack of intergovernmental and trans boundary efforts to assess water quality by both district municipalities and provinces. The status of the Vaal River as a visible aquatic boundary line provides an excellent opportunity to develop a trans boundary collaborative water quality monitoring strategy between Fezile Dabi District Municipality and its neighbouring district municipalities. The only way to ensure the safety of water and a healthy environment for all is by addressing the challenges of water quality monitoring in a Trans boundary, integrated and multidisciplinary manner. This study provides a strategy for Fezile Dabi District Municipality and its neighbours by proposing an ideal structure to optimise effective water quality monitoring between them. Firstly, it gives an explanation of what is meant by water quality monitoring as a key performance area of municipal health services. Secondly, information is provided and proposals made on how to integrate water quality monitoring across municipal boundaries. Thirdly, the study suggests how trans boundary collaboration can contribute to improving water quality assessment strategies between Fezile Dabi District Municipality and its adjacent district municipalities. Lastly, an exposition of an ideal organisational structure and methods to optimise effective water quality monitoring between Fezile Dabi District and these municipalities is provided. A way forward is proposed in terms of a structure negotiated and developed at an environmental health workshop held on 28–29 March 2012 in Sasolburg.