In about November 2018 it was recognised that our water supply(or rather the lack of it) had reached a crisis point! Of course you may say that was inevitable and common place in the South Africa of today? But the events that followed and the work that has been completed is a story that needs to be told and used as an example of how communities can work together to resolve service delivery issues.
After being told that water storage levels were down to 8% in November 2018, a committee was established to address the crisis. It was made up of Ndlambe officials, Amatola Water officials, as well as representatives of the community, including The Kenton Boesmans Chamber of Business & Tourism, KOSRA, BRRAG, and the Kenton Development Forum.
Tackling a problem of this significance was bound to create some conflict, finger pointing and blame, but the core group overcame all the usual obstacles and developed a plan. Key to the success of the plan was this group who have given us all a lesson on responsibility and accountability.
Meetings have been held regularly and, when required, were attended by the CEO of Amatola Water as well as the Municipal Manager of Ndlambe.
The short term plan (Christmas 2018) involved severe water restrictions, regular and accurate communication about water leaks, reservoir levels and who was attending to what. (A whatsapp group that included representatives of ALL parties provided the communication medium).
– Amatola committed to essential maintenance to make the plant more effective – membranes on RO12 were replaced in December 2018.
– Ndlambe committed to repairing all leaks and managing the network more effectively and started immediately.
– The other participants collected information and disseminated it to our various communities and groups.
The holiday season was tough but a small group of committed people worked the most impossible hours and under massive pressure to get us through the busy season.
The medium term (for 2019) goals were set and have progressed as follows:
• Ndlambe spent close to R2 500 000 on essential maintenance to bring consumption under control.
• An extensive programme to repair leaks, new gate valves, water meters, air valves was put in place.
• A maintenance programme is in place.
• New boards to be put up to raise public awareness.
• The Water Conservation Demand Management project has become a permanent fixture and 14 new plumbers are to be appointed.
• Amatola have committed to the following:
1. Replaced membranes to RO3 in April.
2. The telemetry will be upgraded.
3. Fresh Water Wells in the dunes are being rested where possible.
4. Sea Well No 5 – pump set to be upgraded – also a pilot project to increase raw water by implementing Sand Water Extraction units.
5. New 1Mega Lt storage tank to be put up at the plant.
6. Replacement of RO1, including new membranes and pressure vessels.
The new plant should be running by the first week in December but full production is subject to Eskom availability – every 24 hours of no Eskom costs us 30% of our water reserves, but we desperately need rain to replenish the Fresh Water Wells in the dunes and we need to encourage all community members to install additional water tanks to see them through peak times.
With the new plant in place, and subject to the above, we can expect production of 3.4 Mega Litres per day, which is a 60% increase in production on last year. Should the storage levels fall below 60%, water will be restricted and might need to be turned off at night.
At this stage water restrictions remain in place.
The committee has set aside any differences and are working together to ensure sufficient water supply for all our residents, with minimal disruption. Our thanks must go to Ndlambe, especially Deputy Director Thulani Maluleke and his team, and Amatola Water Director Asanda Gidana, Andre Dyer and George and his team on the ground for their co-operation and willingness to work with us, who, together, have spent and committed to spend in excess of R12.5 Million to this project so far.