POLOKWANE – Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) was contracted by the municipality to supply bulk water from the Ebenezer and Olifantspoort Schemes as per the bulk water services contracts concluded by the institutions.
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Recently, challenges experienced at both schemes contributed negatively to a sustainable water supply to the city.
Water supply challenges from the Ebenezer Scheme are mostly caused by electrical power failures due to power dips caused by an unsustainable line from the Greater Tzaneen Municipality.
At times this happens while the supply from the Olifantspoort Scheme is negatively affected.
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Supply from the Olifantspoort Scheme is affected by the frequent breakdown of the Specon Pipeline, which is old and breaks down regularly, affecting the flow of water to areas within the scheme and reservoirs not being able to be kept within the demand level.
The Specon Pipeline bursts almost twice on average per week, causing a downtime of at least six hours per burst.
Due to time taken without being able to supply water, once the line is repaired and the plant back in operation, it takes more time to balance the supply. Some 5 km of this line requires urgent attention, the municipality said.
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SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS
• It was recommended that LNW follow up on previous discussions held with the Tzaneen Municipality and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to determine the costs of upgrading the existing lines supplying Ebenezer as the most cost-effective and quickest way to improve the surety of electrical supply and ultimately the supply of water.
• The contractor which is to replace 2 km of the Specon Pipeline will be asked to speed up the work to complete it in September. Challenges on site caused delays as the initial completion time was the end of July. Community unrest and complaints regarding the percentage of the budget to be allocated to the locally-based contractors were since resolved. Plans for the upgrade of an additional 3 km on the pipeline are at an advanced stage.
• 10 Ml per day will be added to the water supplied to Polokwane Municipality from the Olifantspoort Scheme as from the end of September.
• After the completion of the Asbestos Replacement Project undertaken by the Polokwane Municipality, LNW will provide assistance on water rationalisation at reticulation level.
Parallel with this, the municipality embarked on an effective scheme securing groundwater for the city. Groundwater wellfields have been identified for this purpose and drilling and testing operations of these wellfields have been completed. This will result in additional water amounting to 19 Ml per day on average being added to the capacity of the city. The implementation of the project is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.
LONG TERM PLANS
Long term plans include the upgrading of both Ebenezer and Olifantspoort Schemes adding an additional 40 Ml per day to the municipality’s water supply. Upgrades to the total infrastructure to be able to carry the added capacity to meet the current and future demands need to be done. Residents are advised to use water sparingly and work with the municipality while addressing water supply challenges.
The statement indicates actions required to get the area to survive through the difficult times are everyone’s responsibility.
“All water must be conserved now, including non-drinking water from boreholes as this is another source of supply to the rest of the communities. LNW is working tirelessly with the Polokwane Municipality to rectify the situation and calls for patience from our communities and affected stakeholders during this time.”