After two days without water in their taps for most residents, hopes are high that supply will be restored during the course of today (Friday).
An effort by Polokwane Municipality to provide relief by the deployment of water tankers was, however, hampered when protesters in Flora Park hijacked a water tanker and dumped the water in a street.
Communications and Marketing Manager of Polokwane Municipality, Matshidiso Mothapo reported earlier this morning that the city began to receive water by last night after a two-day shutoff of the Olifantspooort plant to allow for a bypass to be connected to the Specon pipe line.
According to Mothapo, low areas should be restored first whilst pressure is accumulating to restore high areas. “Because the pipes and reservoirs were empty over a longer period, the water had to be accumulated in various reservoirs overnight throughout the municipal area in order to manage the pressure flows and avoid damaging the pipes. Enough water has been accumulated and a process to release water into the system in phases has started in the early hours of this morning. Full pressure will be released once all the lines have water,” Mothapo explained.
“The municipality is currently implementing measures to manage the pressure on the system. This include slow release of water into the pipes and removing the air that accumulated into the pipes. Part of managing the pressure and releasing the air from the system involves opening up the air valves and fire hydrants to release the water. If this is not done, the pressure will result in a series of pipe bursts throughout the area resulting in more loss of water and extended period of water shortages,” Mothapo added.
Mothapo confirmed that all systems are functioning at full capacity and Lepelle Northern Water is pushing more volume of water to recover the system so that all affected areas in the municipal are restored as soon as possible.
Water tankers are deployed to provide relief, however, a water tanker had to be retrieved from Flora Park under Police escort yesterday evening when residents high jacked the vehicle and forced the operator to dispose of the load into Wisteria Street. It was learnt that the protesters claimed that the water was polluted and that they refused to use it.
According to Mothapo, the protesters were the same group that disrupted a community meeting that was convened at Serala View earlier in the evening to inform residents about water matters. “The group of young men reeked of alcohol and came with the intention of disrupting the proceedings and the meeting did not proceed. It was an unfortunate situation because the rest of the community wanted to get the information and the plans to deal with current shortages, but were denied that opportunity and the municipality condemns such senseless acts that denies other people the right to water,” Mothapo said and confirmed that the date and venue of a new meeting for residents of Ward 20 will be announced. A successful and very informative meeting between Executive Mayor, Thembi Nkadimeng and residents of Ward 21 took place at another venue in the city. See article in next week’s issue of this publication.
Story: BARRY VILJOEN