Home News Sol gives update on R2.5 billion water infrastructure fund

Sol gives update on R2.5 billion water infrastructure fund

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Significant progress has been made in addressing the bulk water infrastructure challenges in Kimberley through the Budget Facility Infrastructure (BFI) fund, including the cessation of nightly water shutdowns over the past few months.

Sol Plaatje Municipality executive mayor Kagisho Sonyoni provides an update on the Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) funds. Picture: Soraya Crowie

SIGNIFICANT progress has been made in addressing the bulk water infrastructure challenges in Kimberley through the Budget Facility for Infrastructure (BFI) fund, including the cessation of nightly water shutdowns over the past few months.

This is according to the Sol Plaatje Municipality which recently provided a progress report on the R2.5 billion BFI funding that aims to repair and refurbish the city’s bulk water supply and address maintenance issues.

Sol Plaatje executive mayor Kagisho Sonyoni reported that substantial interventions and progress had been made since the water interruption in April this year.

He pointed out that the municipality had managed to eliminate the nightly water interruptions plaguing the city.

“We had a water interruption in Kimberley from April 4 until April 8, 2024. During that time we were battling with nightly water interruptions. However, since the conclusion of the four-day water interruption, we have managed to withdraw the nightly water interruptions in the city to date. Residents in the city can now enjoy an uninterrupted water supply,” said Sonyoni.

Sonyoni also expressed satisfaction with the production capacity at the Riverton water treatment plant.

“We have been able to reduce water losses at the Riverton water treatment plant from 37% to 15% since the intervention of the BFI programme. All four reservoirs at the Newt Reservoir are consistently at full capacity since the last intervention in April this year,” he said.

He added that several multimillion-rand projects are already under way or in the pipeline.

“The roll-out of the BFI grant is well under way, with six of the 34 total envisioned projects already having been awarded for construction, with a total amount of more than R157,365,504. Work has already commenced on site with the emergency water leak repair contract and has already attended to six major leaks on the main bulk pipeline supplying the city. Planning for the remaining 21 leaks is also well under way and the community will be notified of any interruption of supply,” said Sonyoni.

He noted that through the BFI they would be able to carry out a host of projects amounting to several hundred million rand.

“The total value of the projects planned to be awarded at the end of the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year is R524 million. The projects include the refurbishment of the Riverton water treatment plant’s bulk power supply, which is valued at R47,359,364.60; the Kimberley Bulk Metre Installations and Pressure Management Phase 2 project, which is valued at R21,741,853.54; emergency leak repairs on priority leaks identified from the SmartBall Survey and mid-station valve repairs valued at R18,972,223.07; and the new water treatment plant chlorine, chemical dosing instrumentation and control, which amounts to R40,826,921.14.”

Sonyoni added that a R366 million project is in the pipeline to be rolled out later this year.

“The projects that are in the process of being awarded include the Emergency Refurbishment of the Old Water Treatment Plant Chlorine Dosing, Filters and Control Instrument, which is envisioned to amount to R95 million; the Riverton Water Treatment Plant Refurbishment of the New Plant’s Filters, Clarifiers, Backwash System and Washwater Recovery System project, which is envisioned to amount to R195 million; emergency leak repairs at Newton Reservoir Complex, which is envisioned to cost R24 million; the Water Treatment Works, Occupational Health, Safety and Security Management project, which is envisioned to amount to R29 million; and the Newton Reservoir Complex Occupational Health, Safety and Security Management project, which is envisioned to amount to R23 million.”

He warned that water interruptions would be unavoidable when some projects are carried out on the major bulk water pipeline.

“While construction of these works is in full swing, the communities are reminded that water supply interruptions will unfortunately be inevitable. The interruptions will vary in duration and frequency, and will be communicated formally and timeously to all consumers,” he said.

Sonyoni refuted reports claiming that the municipality had to return some of the BFI funds to the National Treasury.

“That R2.5 billion allocated to the municipality by the National Treasury will all be spent. There is no project that will be withdrawn or not completed. We are well on track with our projects.

“The National Treasury reduced the BFI allocation in the 2023/24 financial year by R11 million owing to the national constraints on the fiscus that were being experienced and affected all spheres of government countrywide. A further R5 million was reduced due to late funding approval and budget allocation including the failure to get suitably responsive bids that affected cash flow.

“The municipality assures its residents that the reductions have not affected the overall budget allocation of R2.5 billion,” Sonyoni concluded.

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