9 Nov 2010
West of Johannesburg, Robinson Lake used to be enjoyed for recreational activities. It has now been abandoned due to its high sulphuric acid content.
Robinson Lake is a graphic example, above ground, of what is happening below the ground to Johannesburg's water table as a result of acid mine drainage.
There are thousands of deep abandoned mines in the wider Johannesburg region, each filled with rain water that reacts with exposed rock to create a poisonous blend of acid and heavy metals.
Rising at an alarming rate of 1,5 metres per day, acid mine drainage could infiltrate Johannesburg's fresh water supply within 18 months.
Government has been slow to react to the alarm bells that have been raised about acid mine drainage. A cabinet committee is now investigating solutions, but the window is fast closing for finding those solutions.