Home News Sol ‘working around the clock’ to restore water

Sol ‘working around the clock’ to restore water

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With temperature in Kimberley soaring between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius this week, Sol Plaatje Municipality declared that it aims to restore the water supply to the city by Saturday.

Sol Plaatje acting executive mayor Thobeka Matika during a media conference on the three-day water shutdown. Picture: Soraya Crowie

WITH temperatures in Kimberley soaring between 38 and 40 degrees Celsius this week, Sol Plaatje Municipality declared that it aims to restore the water supply to the city by tomorrow.

This follows after the municipality implemented an emergency water shutdown on Wednesday in order to attend to two major leaks that were discovered on the 900mm pipeline at Sunset Manor and at the cross-section of the 900 and 600mm pipelines at Midlands.

The acting executive mayor, Thobeka Matika, during a press briefing on Wednesday, said the municipality had decided to halt the water supply to the city to attend to the problem.

“We remain committed to addressing the loss of water precipitated by the ageing network infrastructure. In 2024, over R104 million from the Budget Facility Infrastructure (BFI) grant was set aside to address the fixing of the pipeline and other related shortcomings. We have also summoned the services of network and bulk water supply specialists in restoring the current situation and in our endeavour of guaranteeing water security,” said Matika.

“We have made strides in addressing the production problems at Riverton waterworks in recent weeks and we are now setting our sights on addressing network supply setbacks that are within our five-year plan and based on the BFI.”

Matika added that the municipality has put emergency measures in place to ensure that residents are provided with water during the emergency shutdown.

“Water tankers have been deployed to all 31 wards and will be roving within each ward. Ward councillors have been supplied with the contact details of the truck drivers of each ward,” she said.

The municipal manager, Thapelo Matlala, meanwhile explained that while the bulk of the repair work would be done by municipal workers, the municipality has also roped in the assistance of specialists.

“We are using engineers from Bigen, who are assisting us with the work that we have undertaken. We anticipate that this will be only three days of work. So, this is just a short period of work.

“Given the extensive work we have done previously at Riverton, we are happy to report that the reservoir at Riverton is full. We will be able to produce water at Riverton if there is additional demand. At Newton, our 102-megalitre dam is at 8.7 feet, which is fairly reasonable. We normally have challenges when the dam is at six or seven feet. However, to be cautious and to play it safe, we will not be pumping any water from the reservoirs but will be providing water with the water tankers,” said Matlala.

He said that the challenge of raising the water levels at Newton Reservoir led to the discovery of the two leaks.

“We were struggling with raising the levels of the reservoir at Newton and while our staff were physically inspecting the pipeline we noticed that there was a huge leak below the pipe at Sunset Manor. As the staff were doing physical inspections, there were areas where they could not enter. It was against that background that we had to make use of a drone to see other areas where there were problems.

“It does not mean that once we have completed this work there will be no leakages on the pipeline, we are focussed specifically on the leaks that are critical, which are affecting the water levels at the Newton Reservoir and affecting supply to the community.”

Matlala added that nightly shutdowns would continue should the levels at the reservoir not be satisfactory.

“Once the work is completed, it will take about 10 to 12 hours to fill the pipeline in order for the water supply to be restored to residents. The continuation of the nightly water shutdowns will be dependent on the water levels at the 102-megalitre dam. If the dam’s level is at about 14 feet, it would not be necessary to continue with the nightly water shutdowns. However, if the water levels are not satisfactory, then we will have to continue with the nightly water shutdowns.

“We cannot be left in a situation where we will not be able to provide water to the city. We know the mayor has expressed his desire this year to not have a water shutdown as has been the case in the previous years. That would be like a Christmas gift to the residents, hence we are working around the clock to address the matter.”

Matlala profoundly apologised to residents for the inconvenience.

“We are mindful that water is something vital and in need to everyone. However, given the challenges we are confronted with, we had to take this route. Also, we are trying to resolve this problem so that we do not have long periods where people are dependent on water tankers.

“We want to assure residents that an all-out effort has been unleashed in temporarily providing water to all residential areas through tankers,” Matlala concluded.

The municipal manager, Thapelo Matlala, addressing the media on the measures being implemented during the water shutdown. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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