Parts of Knysna estuary still unsafe, despite signs of recovery - SANParks

2019-05-13 11:19 -
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The Garden Route forms an exceptional part of South Africa's coastline. It is especially popular during the winter months when the weather is mild and the festivals and outdoor activities are jam-packed.

READ: Pink Loerie, Knysna Oysters and 127th Rastafari Earth Fest - the Garden Route is ideal for a winter mini-break   

In the run-up to the busy School Holiday peak period, SANParks says visitors should be aware that an ongoing E-coli incident has made certain parts of the Knysna Estuary unsafe.

The following areas are not safe "for swimming, bait collection, fishing or wading". 

  • Bongani stream is still over the limit at 3200 cfu/100ml and higher than the previous sample of 2100.
  • The Queens Street outlet has shown a drop to 13 cfu/100ml after a number of consecutive readings of over 30 000 cfu/100ml.
  • Salt River is also non-compliant at 970 cfu/100ml. 

Although water in deep-water channels have not affected, SANParks says it "continues to sample as a precautionary measure". The incident extended from the "areas adjacent to Loerie Park, Cathy Park and up to the area next to Monk’s Caravan Park", and affected The Thesen island waterway on the Ashmead side, with its "E.coli counts still high"during the most recent water samples taken.

"Ranger continue to take deep-water samples in the Knysna estuary despite recorded progress and most ecoli-readings looking relatively lower than in February 2019," says Park Manager for Knysna, Megan Taplin.  

READ: A last-minute hiker's guide to the Otter Trail, SA's iconic hike that will have you pinching yourself! 

Jene Konradie and Phumlane Qaba, Knysna marine ran

Jene Konradie and Phumlane Qaba, Knysna marine rangers taking water samples in the main channel (Photo: SANparks)

SANParks  says it has been meeting with stakeholders at least once a month regarding the progress of the estuary. Partners include SANParks, the Garden Route District Municipality, the Breede-Gouritz Catchment Management Agency (BGCMA), the Knysna Municipality, the Knysna Basin Project and the Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.

"While sampling for ecoli is one intervention, partners take different samples at different spots in the estuary.

Results of water samples taken 3 weeks ago show most sites are compliant except for four sites," says Taplin

Solutions to lower the counts across the affected areas continue. 

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