Johannesburg is under threat from a toxic tide of acid mine water which is steadily rising. The water which is right now about 600 meters below the city is rising at a rate of 0.4 to 0.9 meters per day. If left unchecked this toxic acid water can cause earth tremors, power blackouts and cancer among the residents of the city.
If the rise of the acid mine water is not stemmed it could overflow into the streets in under a year and half. The foundations of the buildings in the city would get damaged and their structural integrity will be compromised severely.
The city will need to build a pumping station to clear the water. The pumping station will need 13 months to build and money which is not readily available. The water will then have to be partially treated and discharged into the Klip River, a tributary of the Vaal River.
The government has announced a multi million rand plan to drain out the toxic water from the underground mines, but will the plan be in time to save the looming catastrophe? Water Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica could not provide exact details of the plan. As per Water Affairs regional director Marius Keet there is an option to locate the pump station at the East Rand Proprietary Mines in Boksburg.