Update on Makhanda water crisis from Makana mayor

We are happy to announce that the recent rains have had a positive impact on one of our supply dams, however, it wasn’t significant.

Howieson’s Poort dam as of yesterday, 13 March, is at 24% from 18.3% on Friday 08 March 2019. The rain seems to have had no impact at all on Settler’s dam for now. On Friday Settlers dam was at 9.3%, as of yesterday it is on 9.2%. The Waainek Water Treatment Works is not producing at full capacity because there is currently work that’s being done on the filters. Only four instead of six filters are in use because a contractor is busy refurbishing them. Consequently water supply on the Western side will be intermittent.

The James Klynhans (JK) Water Treatment Works is designed to produce 10 mega litres of treated water per day (Ml/day), however with the current challenges it can only produce 5-6 Ml/day. Only pump set number 3 is operational and delivering 74.9l/s, i.e. 5 to 6 Ml/day.  Pump number 1 was decommissioned on 9 March as it was making huge noise. Amatola Water assessed pump number 1 on Tuesday, 12 March, and we are awaiting the assessment report. Pump set number 2 has been aligned however the mechanical wear limit switch needs to be replaced. Neither Makana Municipality nor Amatola Water have a spare wear limit switch in stock, hence we’ve placed an order for the wear limit switch with Sulzer, which is the sole supplier. We anticipate delivery in six weeks. Amatola Water Board has been seconded to assist at JK. According to Bosch Projects, Phase 1 of the upgrade of JK is 90% complete. The anticipated completion date for phase 1 is May 2019. The contractor is expected to commence Phase 2 in May 2019. A Portion of Phase 3 & 4 has been included in the Phase 2 emergency work. The balance of Phase 3 & 4 tender will be out in October or November and construction is expected to start in January 2020. The drought funding has not been transferred to Makana yet. A concrete reservoir has been commissioned in Fort Brown and therefore they shouldn’t have any water supply challenges. Additional communal taps were installed in Seven Fountains and additional storage of four 5,000 litre tanks were installed in the area, no supply challenges are anticipated there as well.

Acts of vandalism and the ongoing internal labour-related issues are making the situation worse. A case of theft and vandalism was opened and internal investigations are underway following a break-in at one of the depots. Thieves stole petrol, oil and the mounted step ladder that is used for throttling at Botha’s Hill.  The vehicle of the plumber who was assisting at the plant was also vandalised. Alternative arrangements were made to ensure that throttling is taking place every evening at both plants starting yesterday, 13 March.

Bottled water deliveries are currently taking place to schools and to the Science Festival (Scifest). The Gift of the Givers (GoG) have already drilled a number of boreholes in various parts of town and they continue to drill.

They have drilled four boreholes at Waainek, two at Rhodes University and one more is expected to be drilled at the university. One has already been drilled at the Settlers Monument and two at Ntsika Secondary School. They are still expected to drill boreholes in the following areas: four near the Botha’s Hill reservoir, one at the Cathedral and one at the Waainek prison.

Thirty-two Jojo tanks that have been sourced by the GoG have arrived in Makhanda. Once the filtration systems at the Rhodes and Ntsika boreholes are in operation the Jojo tanks will be put up for residents to collect water. The GoG have sourced two water tankers that will be delivering water regularly and these trucks will be filled up from the boreholes at Rhodes, Monument and Ntsika. Residents will be informed as to where the rest of the Jojo tanks will be placed as water collection points.

Please do your best to assist us in our efforts to deal with this situation by saving water as much as you possibly can.

Hon. Executive Mayor Cllr. Mzukisi Mpahlwa

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