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Water woes hit city’s parks

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The local authority was looking at re-commissioning the pump in order to supply reclaimed water to various parts of the city

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WHILE the city’s parks and public gardens are wilting in the heat and current dry conditions, a reticulation system, developed about 15 years ago to pump reclaimed water to the city from the Homevale Waste Water Treatment Works, has been out of action for more than 10 years.

The reticulation system, which made use of purified effluent from the treatment works, pumped reclaimed water from the Eddie Williams Oval to the AR Abass Stadium, where it split, with one section going to Phillip Mpiwe in Galeshewe and the other to Queens Park, where there is a storage dam.

From Queens Park the water was pumped to the Oppenheimer Gardens and the idea was eventually to provide various schools and other parks with the treated water.

According to municipal spokesperson, Sello Matsie, a broken pump at Homevale has resulted in the water not being pumped to the city for several years already.

Matsie, confirmed yesterday that the local authority was looking at re-commissioning the pump in order to supply reclaimed water to various parts of the city.

“These are not big pumps and will not cost millions of rands. They can also be procured locally,” he added.

According to a presentation submitted to the Sol Plaatje Mayoral Committee in 2017 already, a purified effluent reservoir in Galeshewe, which was supposed to irrigate parks, schools and the Legislature precinct, was never used.

The sign on the reservoir states that it was built as part of the Consolidated Municipal Infrastructure Programme (the Urban Renewal Project) in 2002 with the aim of distributing purified effluent in Galeshewe.

“Unfortunately it was never used,” the report states.

A similar reservoir at the old Eddie Williams Stadium has also been stripped bare by thieves.

As a result, tap water has to be used by the city’s parks and gardens section and, according to the report, at one stage the water account in summer was in excess of R500 000 a month. However, with the current pressure on the Newton Reservoir, that has now been cut drastically and currently there is very little watering taking place. Several municipal parks, as well as the city’s many lemon trees, are struggling to survive.

The municipality currently relies on a tractor and water truck to water the city’s trees.

“The 1970 Hino water tanker is regularly in the workshop and spares are hard to come by,” the report states.

The Parks Section maintains approximately 55 000 street trees.

“While the olive trees are doing fine, the lemon trees are dying. It is very sad to see but shows the importance of planting indigenous plants and trees that are able to withstand this type of climate,” Matsie said.

He added that the advantage of using reclaimed water was that while it was not cheap to pump the water, it meant that there was always an available source of water for municipal parks and gardens.

“There is almost no grass left at the Oppenheimer Gardens currently but a large part of these gardens will be used by the Sol Plaatje University in the next year or so and, as a result, it would be foolish to plant more grass.”

He pointed out that the scarcity of water was not unique to Kimberley and was part of a national problem. “We have to become very water wise and think about what we plant in our gardens and parks. The days of lush green lawns are a thing of the past.”

– Staff Reporter