Home News R36m later…and still no water

R36m later…and still no water


The water supply was completely cut yesterday when a 33-metre cable was stolen from one of the pumps at the reservoir

FRUSTRATED: A progress assessment of the bulk water augmentation in the greater Ritchie area was done to ensure water supply to the Ritchie community for decades to come but has left residents with more frustrations and less water. Seen is the new pump that was installed. Picture: Danie van der Lith

RITCHIE residents have reported that they are still without running water despite a R36 million contract that was concluded for the Ritchie bulk water and connector infrastructure project.

The water supply was completely cut yesterday when a 33-metre cable was stolen from one of the pumps at the reservoir.

Funding was provided by Sedibeng Water for sewer and water reticulation as well as to provide water to 1 118 residential stands in Motswedimosa and Rietvale that did not have access to water and sanitation services.

Pipes were to be connected to abstract raw water from the Riet River while the capacity of the water treatment plant was supposed to be increased.

The preliminary design and technical research and investigation by the Department of Water and Sanitation indicated that it was a “top priority” to provide water and sanitation to the Ritchie community, who for many years had not had access to these basic services.

The Frances Baard District Municipality funded the servicing of 167 stands in Freedom Park in Rietvale while Sedibeng Water provided funds for the servicing of 461 stands in Freedom Park and 661 stands in Motswedimosa.

The last phase of the project was intended to be completed by March 2016, where a total of 1 289 stands would have full access to water and sewerage services.

Ritchie independent councillor Norman Hammer indicated that the contractor had already left the site.

“The project should have been completed in May last year. Most areas of Ritchie have been without water since the water was shut down in December, when repairs were done at the Ritchie water treatment plant. Even the farmers are struggling to water their crops and keep their livestock alive.

“Shalom crèche in Rietvale had to close its doors as it is not able to care for children without any water supply.”

Hammer said that while JoJo tanks had been made available at the informal settlements it was not sufficient to meet the demand of the community.

“The water tanks are filled once a day and for those that have to leave the house early and come home late, they have no access to water. If the truck cannot come from Kimberley then there is no water in Ritchie.”

Hammer added that the funds spent on the bucket eradication programme had been wasted as there was no water in the pipes to flush the toilets.

“The engineer must give clarity as to why there is no water flowing through the pipes since the so-called upgrade because no one is being held accountable for the waste of funds.”

He added that Ritchie Clinic had been closed since Thursday last week, as the electricity bill has not been paid.

“Only emergency cases were attended to on Friday as it is very dark inside the clinic. It is the only clinic in Ritchie and patients cannot receive treatment elsewhere as they do not have transport or access to their patient files.”

He added that medication that had to be refrigerated was sent back to Kimberley for storage in the meantime.

Farmers contacted in the area said that they relied mainly on borehole water and water tanks, while the Oranje-Riet Water Users Association indicated that farmers were being rationed with water supplies.

According to the contractor, Makone Consulting Engineers, they had not been provided with a map to install the pipes in Ritchie which had resulted in some areas being without water.

They said that they were still on site and were connecting some of the valves. “The water will be accessible in all areas once the project is completed.”

The chief director at the provincial Department of Water and Sanitation, Abe Abrahams, referred media enquiries to Sol Plaatje Municipality.

The spokesperson for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, stated .that all areas in Ritchie had access to water.

“There are isolated cases where there is low water pressure. The project is not yet completed and the contractor is still busy on site.”

Matsie added that the contractor was only paid for work done on site.

“Inspections have been conducted to ensure that installations are done according to specification. Design drawings were issued to the contractor and all pipes were installed as per the specifications.”

Matsie indicated that no penalties had been charged for delays in completion.

“The approval of completion dates from the consultant for practical completion for the contractor have been confirmed and final claims will be addressed accordingly.”

He reported that all areas experiencing low or no water pressure, including informal settlements, were provided with water tanks.

The spokesperson for the MEC for Health, Lebogang Majaha, said that the clinic in Ritchie would be open today. “A payment agreement was entered into with Eskom.”