The 2012 acid mine drainage (AMD) crisis in Carolina's municipal water supply
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There are growing concerns in South Africa about the threat that acid mine drainage (AMD) poses to local natural water resources in many of the country's mining areas. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the toxic water has been responsible for pollution in parts of the country. Government and operators in the country's water sector have actively been working in recent years at addressing the problem. This article deals with a contemporary history of an AMD crisis in the coalmining town of Carolina, in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, and explains how the matter was eventually resolved. The discourse focuses on how people of Carolina responded to the contamination of the municipality's water supply system and eventually chose to follow the path of active protest. The water crisis even made a detour to the high court, with a number of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) actively supporting the cause of local residents. Although by September 2012 the town's water supply was restored, the community remained distrustful of the local authority's ability to secure a consistent supply of good quality water. The authorities took some measures to restore trust. People had been traumatised and sound relations had to be restored in the aftermath of the crisis. The Carolina crisis of 2012 is contemplated from the perspective of the current threat that AMD poses to South Africa's finite water resources and the danger of mining in sensitive areas.
- Faculty of Humanities