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City faces another water shutdown

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A five-day water shutdown has been planned for after Easter to repair major leaks on the main pipeline that feeds water from the Riverton purification plant to the city.

Water is leaking from a faulty gasket at Midstation in Roodepan. Picture: Soraya Crowie

A FIVE-day water shutdown has been planned for after Easter to repair major leaks on the main pipeline that feeds water from the Riverton purification plant to the city.

It was indicated that this will be one of many water shutdowns to address the city’s ageing infrastructure.

The Bulk Facility for Infrastructure programme co-ordinator at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Lucky Moyahi, stated that the amount of water lost due to a leak on the 900-millimetre pipe at Midstation in Roodepan could fill the Newton Reservoir in two days.

“We are losing gallons of water and it cannot be sustained. It cannot be repaired without a water shutdown and the gasket in the chamber could pop at any time. It has been problematic since December and needs urgent attention,” said Moyahi.

“Work was conducted at the same site during an emergency shutdown in November to repair a similar leak on another section of the pipeline.”

He added that no debt relief would be offered to Ekapa Mining despite it committing to donate R10 million towards addressing the water crisis.

A city-wide water shutdown has been planned for April 4 to 8. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Bigen Africa consulting engineer Rikus Rossouw said the Midstation pipe should take around eight hours to repair.

“However, it takes two days to drain the pipe and another eight hours to restore the water supply. We will use the opportunity to remove sand from the chambers, upgrade the old purification plant at Riverton, replace valves and repair other leaks including the one in Soul City,” said Rossouw.

He indicated that all the materials, parts and equipment would be on hand by next week.

“A team is ready in the event that emergency work needs to be carried out. A contractor is also on-site to build a new station in Roodepan over the next six months.”

A gasket at Midstation in Roodepan is threatening to burst at any moment. Picture: Soraya Crowie

The communications manager at Sol Plaatje Municipality, Thabo Mothibi, said the planned water supply interruption was scheduled to take place from April 4 to 8.

“Contingency measures will be provided for all affected areas, health-care facilities, old age care centres and other key points. Residents are encouraged to store enough water ahead of the water supply interruption,” said Mothibi.

He said that repairs would be conducted on four key major leaks.

“We aim to end the nightly water supply interruptions through this intervention.”

Mothibi explained that the gasket on the 900mm diameter butterfly valve was being eroded by the high pressure of water gushing out through the leak.

“During the water interruption, the 600mm and 900mm diameter pipelines that are interconnected at Midstation will be isolated. The isolation will help with avoiding total water supply outages in the future.”

Rikus Rossouw, Bigen consulting engineer, and Lucky Moyahi, Bulk Facility for Infrastructure programme co-ordinator at Sol Plaatje Municipality, during an inspection of major leaks at Midstation in Roodepan. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Mothibi added that work at both the old and new plants at the Riverton water treatment works included the recommissioning of two dysfunctional clarifiers and the replacement of filter media aimed at improving water production.

“The recommissioning of the two clarifiers will enhance production by 16 megaliters.

“We take cognisance of the inconveniences and hardships caused by the interruption. We assure residents that the efforts are being undertaken to ensure water security,” he concluded.

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