Home News … while city’s drinking water leaks into veld

… while city’s drinking water leaks into veld

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Community members have reacted with outrage following reports that the water has been leaking into the veld for nearly three years

Picture: Danie van der Lith

AS KIMBERLEY continues to be plagued by nightly water cuts, millions of litres of pristine drinking water is flowing into the veld in Roodepan.

A visit to the area yesterday revealed a massive dam of water next to the railway line between Roodepan and 3SAI military base, just outside Kimberley.

The water is apparently leaking from several bursts in the line that carries purified water from the Riverton Pump Station to the Newton Reservoir in Kimberley.

While water can be seen flowing on both sides of the railway line, a dam of water, almost the size of Kamfers Dam, has formed on the Roodepan side of the line. However, while Kamfers Dam contains treated wastewater from the Homevale Waste Water Purification Plant, the Roodepan “dam” contains crystal-clear, clean water meant for the taps of consumers in Kimberley.

Community members have reacted with outrage following reports that the water has been leaking into the veld for nearly three years.

“Who is paying for this water and why is nothing being done to remedy the situation? It is an absolute disgrace that Kimberley residents have to endure nightly water cuts while millions of litres just get wasted as it runs freely into the veld,” one local resident said.

Also seen in the area yesterday were Transnet employees who were working on reinforcing sections of the railway line that were being flooded by the water.

They indicated that the water leaks posed massive problems to the railway line, which becomes weak as the earth beneath it becomes soaked.

Farmers in the area have also raised concern that animals grazing in the area might drown in the dam of water, which is reportedly up to three metres deep in some places.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the local authority was “well aware” of the issue.

He added that the area was earmarked for repair work when the water system gets connected to the new Riverton Pump Station.

“Repair work to the part of the line can’t be done on a ‘live’ system, as the water pressure is too high. Thus, the area has been identified for repair work once we embark on scheduled water cuts to connect the system to the new Riverton Pump Station. At the moment, we can’t take the risk of cutting or diverting water as water levels at the Newton Reservoir are already low,” Matsie said.

He added that the method of “cathodic protection” would be utilised during repair work on the line that runs from the Riverton Pump Station via Roodepan and Galeshewe to the Newton Reservoir in Kimberley.

Matsie said further that the area (where the leaks are occurring and the dam is forming) is remote and also dangerous as it is unstable and caving in due to the soaked soil.

Matsie concluded by saying that the municipality is in possession of video footage showing human tampering and vandalism of the line, where holes were punched in the line and valves opened, causing water to start leaking into the veld, which was then being used as drinking water for cattle and other livestock grazing in the area.