Rain brought little change in dams

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This is the first in a series of weekly briefings by the Makana Mayor intended to inform residents about issues affecting them. ‘From the Mayor’s Desk’ will be published in Grocott’s Mail.

Dear Residents of Makana Municipality, let me take this opportunity to greet all of you. This week’s briefing is an update on Makhanda’s water situation.

We are happy to announce that the recent rains have had a positive impact on one of our supply dams; however, it wasn’t significant enough to take us out of a state of water crisis.

Howieson’s Poort dam as of Wednesday morning was at 24% – up from 18.3% on Friday 8 March 2019. The rain seems to have had no impact at all on Settlers Dam for now, however. Last Friday, Settlers Dam was at 9.3%. On Wednesday 13 March it was 9.2%.

The Waainek Water Treatment Works is not producing at full capacity because there is work being done on the filters. Only four instead of six filters are in use because a contractor is busy refurbishing them. Consequently, the water supply on the western side will be intermittent.

The James Kleynhans (JK) Water Treatment Works is designed to produce 10 megalitres of treated water per day; however with the current challenges it can only produce 5-6ML/day. Only pump set number 3 is operational and is delivering 74.9 litres a second, i.e. 5-6 ML/day.

Pump number 1 was decommissioned on 9 March, as it was making a loud noise. Amatola Water assessed it on 13 March, and we are awaiting the report on this.

Pump set number 2 has been aligned; however, the mechanical wear-limit switch needs to be replaced. Neither Makana Municipality nor Amatola Water has a spare wear-limit switch in stock; hence we’ve placed an order for it with Sulzer, the sole supplier. We anticipate delivery in six weeks.

Amatola Water has been seconded to assist at James Kleynhans.

According to Bosch Projects, Phase 1 of the refurbishment project there is 90% complete. The anticipated completion date for phase 1 is May 2019. The contractor is expected to commence Phase 2 in the same month. A portion of Phases 3 and 4 has been included in the Phase 2 emergency work. The balance of the Phases 3 and 4 tender will be out in October or November and construction is expected to start in January 2020.

Drought-relief funding has not been transferred to Makana yet.

A concrete reservoir has been commissioned in Fort Brown and therefore they shouldn’t have any water supply challenges. Additional communal taps were installed in Seven Fountains and additional storage of four 5000-litre tanks was installed in the area, so no supply challenges are anticipated there either.

Vandalism

Acts of vandalism and the internal labour issues are making the water-supply situation worse. A case of theft and vandalism was opened and internal investigations are under way following a break-in at one of the depots. Petrol, oil and the mounted step ladder that is used for throttling at Botha’s Hill reservoir were all stolen. The vehicle of the plumber who was assisting at the plant was also vandalised. Alternative arrangements were made to ensure that throttling is taking place every evening at both plants, starting  Wednesday 13 March.

Bottled water deliveries have been taking place to schools and to Scifest Africa. The Gift of the Givers have already drilled a number of boreholes in various parts of town and they continue to do so.

They have drilled four boreholes at Waainek, two at Rhodes University and one more will be drilled at the university. One has already been drilled at Settlers Monument and two at Ntsika Secondary School. They are still expected to drill boreholes in the following areas: four near the Botha’s Hill reservoir, one at the Cathedral and one at the prison.

Thirty-two Jojo tanks sourced by the Gift of the Givers have arrived in Makhanda. Once the filtration systems at the Rhodes and Ntsika boreholes are in operation, these tanks will be put up for residents to collect water. The GoG have been donated two water tankers from Isuzu that will be delivering water regularly. These trucks will be filled from the boreholes at Rhodes, Monument and Ntsika and will be used to fill the rest of the Jojo tanks. Residents will be informed where these will be placed as water collection points.

Please do your best to assist us in our efforts to deal with this situation by saving water as much as you possibly can.

  • Honourable Executive Mayor, Councillor Mzukisi Mpahlwa
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