Rhodes, Givers secure groundwater for university


Rhodes University and the Gift of the Givers have worked together to secure groundwater for the university’s campus. Starting Friday 22 February, the Givers team drilled an exploratory borehole at Settlers Monument, striking water within the first hour. This comes as Makana announces that James Kleynhans is currently operating at under 50 percent due to maintenance; residents on the east side can expect atleast 5 days until repairs are complete. Water trucks will be augmenting supply, says Makana. 

A statement issued by the Gift of the Givers Founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman stated, “The life blood of the economy is Rhodes University. If that shuts down the city shuts down. An urgent meeting [was]held with the Vice-Chancellor, Dr Sizwe Mabizela, and his Infrastructure specialist, Iain L’Ange. Total co-operation is guaranteed.” 

A second borehole was drilled over the weekend.

“These two will be pumped into 250 000 litre reservoirs and from there through gravity will flow into the existing water reticulation system within the university’s 430 buildings.”

Sooliman wrote that excess water from the university would be stored in jojo tanks on the periphery of campus, aligning with Mabizela’s comment to him, “we have a sense of community, no one can be excluded”. Grocott’s has yet to confirm this information and will update residents accordingly. 

A third borehole was also drilled.

“This will feed into the middle and lower reservoirs of the Waainek Water Works on the west side of town as there is only 1% water left in the feeder dam. The water from the university will augment the water in the west.”

The Givers stated in an interview with the SABC that they plan to drill 20 total exploratory boreholes in Makhanda (Grahamstown), Grocott’s confirmed this information.

Today 26 February Rhodes issued a weekly water update, the first update of its kind that the university will publish for students, staff and community members explaining just how the university is playing its part in saving water. “The aim of these regular news briefs is to inform, support and connect with the Rhodes University community in all water-related issues.”, states the update. 

According to the update Rhodes has taken a number of measures to implement water restrictions, as well as promote the use of grey water on campus.

“We are in the process of installing smart water metres at all the residences on campus. By the end of this week, 52% of these water meters would have been installed, with the rest being installed next week.

“Smart water metres will work to not only reduce water pressure/flow when there is an excess of use, but it will cut off the water supply after the 50litre per person daily water limit has been reached. This will assist students to become self-regulating with their water use.

P-Mats have been added to all urinals and hand sanitisers have been placed in all of the bathrooms on campus.

“Chlorinating agent will be added to the water collection containers to ensure that the water is sanitised for flushing toilets.

“Grey water, drinking water, and rainwater tanks have been placed all around campus.

“Rhodes University has purchased a second water tanker to be used to transport grey water and borehole water to these water tanks. This second tanker will be delivered today. Once the tanker is delivered, Rhodes University will begin to fill the borehole water tanks around campus with borehole water. Rhodes University’s existing boreholes are not suitable for drinking, but this water can be used for other purposes.

“The existing water tanker has been and will be used exclusively for transporting drinking water. 20 x 10, 000 litre water tanks all around campus have already been filled with drinking water with the use of this tanker.

“Gift of the Givers has identified and drilled three additional boreholes which are currently being tested to potentially be used as drinking water. These results will be communicated at a later stage.

“Each student has been issued with water bottles. Water is to be collected from the Khaki coloured water tanks that are labelled ‘DRINKING WATER’.”

Rhodes calls for members of the community to do their part in saving water, and opens the line for residents to submit any water-saving issues or possible solutions via email at communications@ru.ac.za


Here is a list of organisations that are collecting and/ or distributing water in the town along with the contact people.

Gift of the Givers

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman   083 236 4029

Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525. Send deposit slip to donations@giftofthegivers.org for acknowledgement. Please note that whoever donates to the Grahamstown (Makhanda) crisis can get a Section 18A tax benefit certificate from Gift of the Givers. Please send deposit slip to donations@giftofthegivers.org.

Pam Golding Properties

Daphne Timm 082 809 4283 daphne.timm@pamgolding.co.za

Anyone wanting to deliver to PE/Kenton/Port Alfred and East London Pam Golding Properties offices Daphne Timm will drive and collect. Anyone driving through Grahamstown at any time is welcome to drop off water at the Pam Golding offices as well.

Round Table 11 (Grahamstown)

Ryno van Rooyen 072 141 4911 r.vanrooyen@ru.ac.za

Greg Wilmot 072 264 1452 greg@wilmotpsychology.co.za

Round Table are co-ordinating the transport of drinking water from Port Elizabeth and East London and its distribution to areas of most need.

Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset

Izak Smuts 046 6222 297.

Rotary Club of Grahamstown Sunset, First National Bank Grahamstown, Bank Code 210 717, current account, Account name GBS Mutual Bank, account number 5232 2003 436, reference 028427190061.


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