Home News ‘40% of water loss due to sabotage’

‘40% of water loss due to sabotage’

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In working to resolve the issue of water wastage in Kimberley, Sol Plaatje Municipality and a local diamond mining company, Ekapa Mining, made a shocking discovery of deliberate damage to two major pipelines, which has resulted in the loss of between 30 to 40% of clean drinking water.

Sol Plaatje municipal manager Thapelo Matlala is joined by Ekapa Mining CEO Jahn Hohne in addressing the issue of “delibetate“ damage to two major pipelines. Picture: Soraya Crowie

IN WORKING to resolve the issue of water wastage in Kimberley, Sol Plaatje Municipality and a local diamond mining company made a shocking discovery of deliberate damage to two major pipelines, which has resulted in the loss of between 30 to 40% of clean drinking water.

This follows after Ekapa Mining extended a helping hand to the municipality in order to share advice and possible solutions to the water crisis facing the city.

The chief executive officer (CEO) of Ekapa Mining, Jahn Hohne, said that although much of the blame for the city’s water losses was placed on the ageing and outdated infrastructure, they have made a startling discovery of underhanded operations at play that have resulted in the deliberate loss of water meant for the residents of Kimberley.

“We have assisted the municipality with a drone overfly scanning and have identified two big water pipes running to Kimberley. We have, however, identified 17 major leaks on that pipeline. Those leaks are running into the wild veld in and around Kimberley. We have inspected some of the leaks ourselves and found to our absolute horror that those leaks were sabotage leaks,” said Hohne.

“The pipes have been tampered with by humans who have cut and struck the pipes open with the use of picks and chisels. This was done in order to let the water leak and flow into the veld to grow the grass to feed the cattle, sheep and goats.

“If one looks at the satellite image on Google Earth, one can see how massively the water is leaking from the pipelines and the big, green lands of luxury grass growth. All of these green pastures have herds of cattle, sheep and goats grazing on them. It was evident that the holes in the pipeline were mostly caused by sabotage by the people who own the livestock.

“The responsible people have been making holes in the pipeline in order for the water to steam out and they have been doing that for many years. It has now been determined that between 30 to 40% of the water that has been processed and filtered, as well as clarified with combinations of flocculants and chlorines, is used as irrigation water by these illegal operators who have punched holes in the pipelines.

“Those herders have to be stopped in favour of getting water to the city of Kimberley in order for the city to get the right amount of water for every single person who lives in and visits the city. Kimberley cannot grow on the sabotage of the water pipelines.”

Hohne added that the mining company is pleased with the amount of work the municipality has put in to address the water challenges facing the city.

“We are not here to fix the problem regarding the water as we do not have the facilities and the manpower as we run a treatment plant that requires continued maintenance. Our aim is just to give practical advice on how fast and most economically the municipality and its engineering teams can address the shortfalls of the treatment works.

“A positive observation was that the Riverton freshwater treatment works are running at a fairly high capacity. Most components of it are operational. The problem behind this is that there are certain components that lack maintenance and this builds up and becomes a reasonably big problem. However, it is not impossible to overcome with good contractors, a good budget and a good plan to get everything back to top performance,” Hohne said.

Sol Plaatje municipal manager Thapelo Matlala said the local authority will “vigorously investigate” the alleged acts of sabotage.

“We will see how we close those leaks without interrupting the water supply to the city. Currently, there is technology that is utilised where one can close the pipeline without interrupting the provision of water,” said Matlala.

“If there is criminality taking place, we will have to bring in the law enforcement agencies. We have already instructed our security team to engage with the National Intelligence Service as we have our own suspicions about the water problem. It is not only about the infrastructure sabotage, but it might even be more than that.

“We need to have a comprehensive picture of the entire problem. We are also looking internally as some of our own employees might be linked to this problem. However, we are investigating these suspicions.

“Tampering with the water pipeline and municipal infrastructure are serious offences. We have observed the green grazing lands where the leaks were detected and we will also at some point have meetings with the people along that line to discuss our findings and observations,” concluded Matlala.

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