Paper No. 51-2
Presentation Time: 1:45 PM
ANTHROPOGENIC IMPACTS ON THE WATER QUALITY OF THE KAFUE RIVER AND ITS ROLE IN THE PROLIFERATION OF THE WATER HYACINTH (EICHHORNIA CRASSIPES) WEED
The current project assesses the water quality of the Kafue River in Kafue, Zambia. The study site is located in an area that is highly affected by industrial effluent from Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, Bata Tannery and Lee Yeast companies. The site was also a target of a previous study by Blacksmith Institute (in 2005) who concluded that there was an urgent need to change production methods and waste management policies in order to reduce contamination. The Kafue River in this area is also affected by the Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), an invasive species locally known as the Kafue weed. The weed has colonized this reach of the river and disrupted the local ecosystem. In this study landuse/landcover, physicochemical parameters and water geochemistry were studied. Water samples were collected from the Kafue River near the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia plant and from streams emanating from the plant’s detention ponds. Specific conductance in the river was around 200 μS/cm and over 1000 ppm in the stream. All water samples had pH values ranging between 6 and 8. The water in the Kafue River had extremely high nitrogen levels (ranging from 1.6 to 20 ppm) while the stream values ranged between 35 and 44 ppm. Phosphorus levels in all the water samples were also generally very high (above 2 ppm). These conditions are ideal for eutrophication during the hot and dry season (September to November) and Water Hyacinth proliferation.