RO concerns require answers

It might have escaped some Port Alfred residents’ notice – even though there was a “media statement” from Ndlambe Municipality widely circulated on social media – that the municipality embarked on impromptu water shedding two weeks ago.

It made no difference to the people who have been without water since November. Of course it would have been noticed by the residents currently affected that there was no water coming out of the taps, it was just that many people seemed not to know the latest reason.

Talk of the Town was still getting calls on Wednesday, asking about a “water schedule”.

The only schedule we know of was that the municipality announced on April 22, that the East Bank supply and Nemato would be opened from Thursday April 22 until Sunday April 25, and the West Bank would be “shut down” for those four days, to allow the reservoir to fill.

Then from Monday the April 26, the East Bank and Nemato were to be shut down for four days to allow for the reservoir to fill, while the West Bank and Station Hill would receive water until today (Thursday).

“It is hoped that this method will allow all residents to receive some water, especially the high lying areas,” the municipality stated in the notice.

For this writer, the supply shutdown on the West Bank had already started two days before it was meant to have started. And by yesterday morning, we still had no municipal water. Not keeping to their own schedules seems to be par for the course for this municipality.

As for the delays to the emergency 2ML seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant, Ndlambe is still trotting out the excuse dating back to January, that delays were caused by the department of labour in respect of issuing a permit to start the works.

A new reason now given for the additional delay of two months before the plant is complete is that “environmental concerns” led to the changing of the abstraction line.

“It must also be noted that the completion of the RO plant will not resolve the entire water challenges of the area while still under drought conditions but it will add relief to the supply,” the municipal notice stated.

Take note of that reference to environmental concerns as you read our front page story. There is a lot more to this project than is being admitted to in the municipality’s media statements, which seem to appear on social media before they even reach TotT. And the media statements don’t answer our questions.

– Jon Houzet

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