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Bruma regains its former glory​

Bruma Lake, eastern Johannesburg’s crown jewel that lost its shine following its contamination over several years, has reclaimed its former glory.

Motorists driving past the lake can now enjoy the cool breeze and savour the spectacle of the newly refurbished lake.

Residents of surrounding suburbs were able to enjoy the festive season outdoors following the commencement of the first phase of the City of Johannesburg’s R65 million project to rehabilitate the lake.

For years, the lake had been a source of discomfort and frustration among residents and businesspeople alike. The lake was polluted and emitted a foul smell.

Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe says the sludge in the lake was a result of washing powders, motor oil, sewage, litter and other debris flowing into it from the Jukskei River.

After extensive consultation sessions and engineering studies, it was felt that the best option was to restore the surroundings to their natural order and let nature take its course – through filling the lake and reinstating the stream by reshaping the lake basin. It was concluded after the studies that the best way to improve water quality required self-flushing, how nature works unaided, so there could be minimal deposition of sediment or pollutants.

This would support the creation of an ecological habitat and restore an ecological linkage between upstream and downstream areas. Phase 1 of the project, which started in June last year, involved the draining of the lake and drying the silt.

The Jukskei River was diverted from the centre of the lake, giving way to the construction of the channel.

A significant milestone was achieved on 10 December 2014 when the channel was completed and a bypass channel closed, thereby allowing the Jukskei River to flow through the newly completed channel. “This is expected to relieve pressure resulting from potential flash floods,” says MMC Mfikoe.

Daniel Masemola, the department’s Deputy Director of Water Quality and Catchment Management, says should everything go according to plan, phase one of the 12-month project will be finalised around the end of January.

Phase two, which involves landscaping, is expected to commence immediately and be completed by the end of June 2015. Some sections of the lake will be converted into a recreational park.

The City hopes the rehabilitated area will attract more businesses and residents to the neighbourhood, in the vicinity of the busy Eastgate shopping centre and the thriving Cyrildene’s China Town.