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Reservoir levels critical, muni introduces crisis control

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Mary-Ann Mabotja collects water from a municipal water tanker in Ster Park.

Mary-Ann Mabotja collects water from a municipal water tanker in Ster Park.

The levels of the city’s reservoirs this week dropped to such low levels that the municipality had to introduce emergency measures to deal with the situation. A source remarked that the municipality did not act pro-actively to ensure that the reservoir levels were topped up before the heat wave struck.
Mary-Ann Mabotja, a resident of Ster Park, said that it is frustrating that the area has been without water for seven days now and that the public has to go to the water tankers every day to collect small quantities of water. Prevailing high temperatures contributed to higher consumption and evaporation with the result that the levels could not rehabilitate to acceptable standards. The low levels, in turn resulted in no water or low pressure in high lying areas.

Special arrangements
The municipality made arrangements to ensure that water is available to consumers affected by the shortage. Tidimalo Chuene, Communications and Marketing Manager of the municipality, reported that two water purification plants adjacent to areas affected by the water shortage were opened to residents to fetch water from. Residents have access to the plants from 06:00 until 22:00 daily and only for the duration of the current water shortages. The plants are located in Seshego Zone 4, next to the dam, and in Dalmada along the R71 and opposite PEPPS Preparatory School and College.

“Water tankers have been arranged to provide temporary supply to affected areas with each area having a dedicated tanker. The tankers will move around affected areas from 06:00 until 08:00 and later from 16:00 to 22:00. The municipality is also dispatching supplying dedicated tankers to supply affected schools.
According to Chuene, reduction of flow to lower lying areas will be implemented in order to allow the reservoir levels to rehabilitate. The municipality will also enforce current water restrictions by issuing spot fines to anyone who is found watering gardens and washing cars. Residents are therefore urged to refrain from watering of gardens and limit usage of available water for immediate household usage only.
“Reservoir levels received a major blow the past weekend after the Potgieter Avenue reservoir experienced power challenges due to cable theft that occurred at the Sand River which supplies a number of sources in the city. Levels at these sources are expected to rise following repairs and bring the much needed relief to the situation in some areas,” Chuene said.
Istha McMillan, Mediclinic Limpopo Patient Experience Manager, confirmed that the hospital was not affected by the water situation as yet. The new Netcare Pholoso Hospital also confirmed that the water crisis has not affected operations.
Karen Botha, Marketing Manager of Savannah Mall said the water pressure in the Mall was very low. The result is that not enough water can be pumped into the elevated conservancy tanks that supply the building’s air-conditioning system and it therefore does not operate to capacity. “In-house arrangements are however made to ensure that enough public toilets have water to operate effectively,” Botha said.
The Management of Mall of the North has also confirmed that it is not affected by the water situation.
Comment regarding the water situation at the Provincial Hospital could not be sourced from Macks Lesufi, Spokesperson of the Department of Health at time of going to print.
On requesting a resident of the city that lives near the corner of Rissik and Oost streets for comment, he directed the attention of Polokwane Observer to a water leak that had, according to him, been reported to the municipality a month ago and is still not repaired. He raised the point that residents are paying for a service that they do not receive.
“Why can’t we receive a discount from the municipality for the fees that we are paying when we receive a sub-standard service in return,” he asked. The municipality’s comment was also not available at time of going to print.
On Tuesday the levels of the new 50 and 30 mega litre reservoirs were a mere 18% and 6% respectively, while the level of the Potgieter Avenue reservoir was 10%. The Seshego reservoir was at 0% and the reservoir in Extension 34 is at a constant 95%. The level of the old 30 mega litre reservoir is at 6%.
The Ebenezer water plant was pumping 257 litres per second to Polokwane whilst Olifantspoort was pumping 324 litres per second.
For more information on where water tankers can be located, the municipality may be contacted on 015 290 2376, 2001/2002.

Story: BARRY VILJOEN
>>[email protected]

Featured photo: The water leak at the corner of Rissik and Oost streets.