State-owned water utility company, Lepelle Northern Water (LNW) has been contracted by the Polokwane municipality to supply bulk water from the Ebenezer and Olifantspoort Schemes as per the bulk water services contracts to deal with water challenges in the city. In a joint statement released by both parties this week, they said the intervention followed persistent water supply disruptions Polokwane that left residents frustrated.
“Plans are at an advance state to prepare the construction of both Ebenezer and Olifantspoort Schemes to meet the demand as the demand is more than the supply, particularly during warm seasons,” read the statement.
It added that the Water supply challenge from Ebenezer Scheme is mostly caused by the electrical power failure due to power dips resulting from an unsustainable line from the Greater Tzaneen Municipality.
This outage, at times, happens while the supply from Olifantspoort Scheme underway and thus disrupts it.
Polokwane and LNM say the supply from Olifantspoort Scheme is being affected by the frequent breakdown of the Specon Pipe. This is because the pipe has lived beyond its lifespan and breaks down regularly.
The municipality has made the following commitments as part of its short term solutions:
– It is recommended that LNW firm up on previous discussions held with the Tzaneen Municipality and NERSA and determine the costs to upgrade the existing lines supplying Ebenezer as the most cost effective and quickest manner to improve the surety of electrical supply and ultimately the supply of water;
– The Contractor appointed to replace the 2km Specon Pipeline speeds up the work and completes it this month;
– Due to previous challenges on site, there was a delay as the initial completion time was supposed to be end of July 2018. Challenges such as community unrest and complains regarding the percentage of the budget to be allocated to the locally based contractors have since been resolved for the work to proceed;
– Planning for the upgrade of additional 3km on Specon Pipeline is at an advance stage and the Geo-Tech investigation on site has been agreed to commence this week. The essence of this project is to minimise water loss and to reduce down time from Olifantspoort Scheme.
– The 10Ml/day Package Plant at Olifantspoort to be available by the end of September 2018, where additional water to that volume will be added to water supplied to Polokwane Municipality.
– It is our belief that after the repair of the Specon pipe and the commissioning of the 10Ml/day in the system, the water supply situation will be improved.
– After the completion of the Asbestos Replacement Project undertaken by Polokwane Municipality, LNW will provide assistance on water rationalization at the reticulation level.
The statement added: “Running parallel with the above plans, Polokwane Municipality embarked on an effective scheme securing groundwater for the city. Groundwater well fields have been identified for this purpose and drilling and testing operations of these well fields 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 municipality is in the process of designing the conveyance system for linking the well fields to the distribution and reticulation systems. The implementation of this leg of the project is scheduled to be completed by December 2019.” Some of the long term plans included the upgrading of both Ebenezer and Olifantspoort Schemes, where additional 40Ml per day is expected to be added to the water supply to Polokwane Municipality. The anticipated project is earmarked to upgrade the total infrastructure to be able to carry the added capacity to meet the current and future demands. Polokwane has advised residents to use water sparingly and work with the municipality as it tries to address water supply challenges expeditiously.
“After the completion of the Asbestos Replacement Project undertaken by Polokwane Municipality, LNW will provide assistance on water rationalization at the reticulation level. That process cannot be done now since it is impossible to have complete water being supplied to the municipality due to operational challenges within the LNW Schemes,” it concluded.