agriculture

Agri SA concerned about water

Thursday, 15 Aug 2013

Agri SA president Johannes Möller has expressed his concern about the findings of the Water Research Commission (WRC) on water quality and food safety that were recently released.

This report confirms Agri SA's suspicions that river water used for irrigation purposes does not always meet the standards set by the World Health Organisation for food safety.

Bacterial and viral pollution derived from untreated sewerage poses a health risk for consumers of vegetables and deciduous fruit irrigated with polluted water. Möller said Agri SA had already in 2009 brought its concerns regarding the water quality to the attention of the then minister of Water Affairs.

A big challenge

Furthermore, the NEDLAC report on water quality was made available to Minister Edna Molewa in 2011. This indicated that the bacterial and viral pathogens present in water resources were top of the list of pollution elements and posed an enormous threat to human and animal health, the economy as well as society. The Department of Water Affairs, in the National Water Resource Strategy of June 2013, recognises water quality as one of the biggest challenges.

Agri SA forms part of the Water Research Commission's follow-up study to seek methods whereby water for irrigation can be purified to meet the prescribed health requirements. According to Möller, the organisation was compelled to evaluate the legal position of its members in relation to water quality. This evaluation will include a legal opinion on liability for costs in cases where water must also be purified for irrigation purposes.

Credits: Bizcommunity