Water challenges in Madibeng could soon evaporate
Along with other water and sanitation infrastructure improvement projects the municipality is busy with, the upgrading of the Brits Water Treatment Plant in North West could lead to the evaporation of water challenges that have been a thorn in the garden of the Madibeng Local Municipality in the recent past. The improvement of this treatment plant, which is scheduled for completion in 2018, is meant to address the water shortages the municipality faces and is it estimated to cost R578 million.
Mr Monde Juta, the Municipal Manager, told the Select Committee on Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in a meeting held in Brits that the main thing with regard to their water challenges was demand exceeding the supply. He, for example said, the Brits Treatment Water Plant has a capacity to supply 60 mega litres of water per day whereas the demand sat at 80 mega litres per day. He added that this demand would sometimes rise to 108 mega litres per day during peak periods, thus making it difficult for the municipality to provide all residents with water.
Another treatment plant, whose supply was lower than the demands of the residents, was the Hartebeespoort Water Treatment Plant. It supplies 10 mega litres per day against the demand of 11 mega litres per day. The demand rose to 15 mega litres per day during peak periods.
The municipality also supplies water to rural areas through the use of 18 water tankers.
Ageing infrastructure was cited as the major reason why the municipality struggled to meet its water demands. Mr Juta said the infrastructure has exceeded its life span and is also too costly to maintain, especially with the municipality having financial constraints.
HOD of the Department of Local Government and Human Settlements, Moss Kgantsi, said the ageing infrastructure did not only affect the provision of water but the quality of water too. He said because the demand surpassed the supply especially during hot seasons, the raw water from the Harteebeespoort Dam deteriorates to the worst level.
The outdated infrastructure also led to the municipality losing 20% of its water due to technical problems such as leaking pipes. Compounding the water challenge further was the unacceptable phenomenon of illegal connections which accounted for 35%. In total the municipality, according to the municipal manager, has 55% of unaccounted water losses, water which could be used to reduce the high demand.
The municipality, however, believed water shortages would be reduced once they finish upgrading the capacity of the Brits Water Treatment Plant from 60- to 80 mega litres per day. The municipality said it wanted the upgrade to be finished by 2017 instead of the 2018 scheduled completion date which is too far.
A representative from Magalies Water – an implementing agent responsible for this upgrade – also said it was possible to wrap up the project a year earlier but warned there would be cost implications. The municipal manager said the 2018 scheduled date was due to the current MTEF processes. He requested the Committee to engage the National Treasury and release funds allocated for this project earlier, so that this project can be up and running a year earlier.
This R578m Brits Water Treatment Plant, according to Mr Petro Buzuidenhout of Magalies Water, will not only improve the capacity of water provision, but quality as well. He said they will also, as part of the project, instal the Ozone Purification System which could see the municipality receiving a Blue Drop status. The Ozone Purification System is a system used to kill bacteria found in water and is used by many municipalities throughout the world.
Other projects aimed at improving the provision of water and sanitation the municipality is busy with, include augmentation of water supply through boreholes in areas such as Majakaneng, Maboloka, Jericho and others. The municipality has also completed the construction of a new reservoir and bulk pipeline in Hebron, just awaiting final connection and commissioning. They are also busy refurbishing Hartbeestpoort network pump station which is estimated at R7.1m.
SOURCE: South African Official News