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Concern over dirty water

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“If the public are unsure about the quality of the water, we recommend that they boil the water first before drinking it. This will ensure that the water is safe for human consumption.”

Picture: Supplied

While there was great jubilation when the water finally returned to city taps late on Monday afternoon, many residents have expressed concern about the quality of the water and whether it is safe to drink.

“The water coming out of the taps is brown and smells very bad. After five days of no water, we finally have water but the quality is questionable,” one resident said.

Municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, yesterday attributed the brown water to sediment in the system. “Residents must remember that the system was completely drained. We also fixed nine holes on the main line at Midlands, near Roodepan.

“The dams at Newton also dropped very low and some of the dams were completely empty. There is sediment in both the system and the dams and when large volumes of water are pumped in, it affects the turbidity of the water.”

He stated that the municipality would not only increase its testing of the water but also add more chemicals to ensure that the minimum requirements, as stipulated by the Department of Water Affairs, were met.

“If the public are unsure about the quality of the water, we recommend that they boil the water first before drinking it. This will ensure that the water is safe for human consumption.”

By yesterday the levels of the four dams at Newton were still very low and Matsie warned that the nightly shutdowns would continue.

“The 91 cubic metre, as well as the 23 cubic metre dams are at 10ft, however, the 45 cubic metre and the 101 cubic metre dams are empty.

“We managed to get enough water to the Newton Reservoir on Monday afternoon to start the pumps so that we could provide water, but we will continue with nightly shutdowns until the system has been stabilised and the dams are full.”

He explained that while the new pump station meant that additional water could be pumped to Kimberley, the municipality was still limited by the volume of water that could be purified per day.

“The next step will be to refurbish the old water purification plant. This plant was commissioned on December 7 1949, so it is 70 years old, but it is still an asset that can be utilised.”

He added that by bringing the old plant online, it would mean that the municipality would be able to purify an additional 54 megalitres of water a day. “However, there are a number of things that will need to be done at the plant to bring it back online.”

Irate city residents, meanwhile, have threatened to boycott the municipality and withhold the payment of their rates and service fees following the recent water crisis.

“There are many residents who feel that they have had enough of the poor services being provided by the municipality,” one resident pointed out.

“A number of people have also indicated that they want to take the municipality to court to demand better services. People have been without water for five days, and many still do not have water.

“Even if you do have water, it is dirty, rotten water that is coming out of the taps. This is not clean drinking water.

“Other services provided by the municipality are also lacking and people are starting to question what they are paying for.”

He added that many residents were “very unhappy” and were standing together to make their voices heard.