Fed up residents want answers over reoccurring water shortages

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POLOKWANE – Residents have been without water at least once a week since the beginning of the year.

For some residents, who stay in the lower lying areas, this may not bother at all, but for residents in areas such as Ster Park, Fauna Park, Flora Park and parts of Seshego, the situation has become unbearable.

Not having access to water or being unable to get water from the water tankers provided by the municipality due to work or not knowing where they are located has led to several people lashing out on social media.

Here are a few of the posts on Review’ Facebook page last week:

Nazranah Cassim wrote: “This is unacceptable! This is ongoing and there are always endless excuses why we don’t have water! The municipality needs to get AN ACTUAL PLAN in place this is definitely why we pay levies or taxes! (sic)”

Kekana Penny wrote: “And this happens almost everyday (sic)”

Verona Klopper wrote: “Here we go AGAIN… (sic)”

Carmia Schrader wrote: “Dit raak nou belaglik! Hoe lank gaan dit nog vat om die probleem op te los? (sic)”

Most of the water shortages are ascribed to maintenance, pipe bursts and low reservoir levels – which in turn are caused by power outages or maintenance work to be done.

Heavy rains may cause turbulence in water and then water cannot be pumped to distribution points as the debris in the water can block and damage pumps.

The municipality sends SMSes to residents from time to time to warn them about scheduled maintenance work, or low reservoir levels, but mostly the shortages are not something they can do something about as Lepelle Northern Water is the authority in charge of the pipelines from water pumping stations.

“The big problem is pipe bursts at the big Specon pipe line, and from the Tzaneen area many power outages preventing water being pumped to the city are the result of heavy rain, wind or storms,” Municipal Spokesperson, Matshidiso Mothapo, explained.

In terms of water provision to the municipal area, a 2016 municipal report painted a bleak picture.

The total water storage capacity of the city’s reservoirs is 175 mega litres while the daily volume received from all the sources amounts to 91,59 mega litres.

The city’s reservoirs are situated in Ster Park, Potgieter Avenue, Seshego and Doornkraal and the total water demand is currently 114 mega litres per day, resulting in a shortfall of 24,15 megalitres.

During peak flow times, the shortfall is 73,15 mega litres per day.

Last year the municipality’s application to increase the allocation of bulk supply from Lepelle Northern Water was still under consideration but it will take Lepelle Northern Water 18 months to augment the supply from Ebenezer Dam at an estimated cost of R230 million.

To enable the Olifantspoort water plant to provide more water to the city, R1,2 billion will be required over 48 months. This will include extra water pipelines.

The number of households in the municipal area, including the Aganang portion, is around 240 100.

The population of the city, excluding the Aganang cluster, has increased from 628 999 to 702 190 from 2011 to 2016 which has put more pressure on the scarce water resources.

The Spokesperson of Lepelle Northern Water, Simon Mpamonyane, has not yet replied to any requests for comment.on what is to be done to augment the situation by the time of going to print.

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  AUTHOR
Nelie Erasmus and Raeesa Kimmie

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