Dis­pute holds up re­verse omo­sis project

Talk of the Town - - News - JON HOUZET

AMATOLA Wa­ter has re­vealed more about the sta­tus of the Port Al­fred re­verse os­mo­sis (RO) plant TotT re­ported on two weeks ago.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesman Ce­cil Mbolekwa ob­tained the in­for­ma­tion from Amatola Wa­ter af­ter TotT ex­plained to him that the im­ple­ment­ing agent of Nd­lambe’s bulk wa­ter project had never an­swered any of our pre­vi­ous ques­tions, when we re­ported on de­lays and the sky­rock­et­ing bill for the project two years ago. Amatola Wa­ter ap­pointed two con­trac­tors for the RO plant project – one for civil works and one for me­chan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal (M&E) works.

“The civil con­trac­tor could not com­mence with the works, as they failed to pro­vide valid per­for­mance guar­an­tees and in­sur­ance. On the other hand, the con­trac­tor was claim­ing for ex­ten­sion of time, with time-re­lated pre­lim­i­nar­ies and gen­eral (P&Gs), which AW never ac­ceded to, as it was not fully jus­ti­fied,” Amatola Wa­ter said in a state­ment.

“The con­trac­tor was then put on terms, by the con­sult­ing en­gi­neers. “With­out all steps be­ing fol­lowed, the con­trac­tor opted to lodge a dis­pute with South African In­sti­tute of Civil En­gi­neers (SAICE) and re­ferred the mat­ter for ad­ju­di­ca­tion. Amatola Wa­ter is de­fend­ing the dis­pute.”

Amatola Wa­ter said the M&E con­trac­tor would not be able to com­mence on site be­fore con­fir­ma­tion of avail­abil­ity of suf­fi­cient bud­get to ser­vice their con­tract, as they had ex­pe­ri­enced bud­get cuts that se­verely af­fected their pro­grammes.

“As the gazetted 2018-19 fi­nan­cial year al­lo­ca­tion for the en­tire Nd­lambe project, which re­quires about R70-mil­lion to be com­pleted, it is dif­fi­cult for Amatola Wa­ter to give such as­sur­ance, as we don’t have con­trol of DWS [de­part­ment of wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion] al­lo­ca­tions and re-al­lo­ca­tions,” Amatola Wa­ter said.

The im­ple­ment­ing agent said the cur­rent yield from Sarel Hay­ward Dam is between 4-5 me­gal­itres (ML) per day. The four bore­holes that were con­structed un­der the on­go­ing project, were pro­jected to pro­vide more than 2ML/day of ad­di­tional wa­ter that would have been blended with wa­ter from Sarel Hay­ward Dam, then be treated into the brack­ish wa­ter re­verse os­mo­sis (BWRO) plant, to im­prove the wa­ter qual­ity.

“Due to the ef­fects of drought, DWS have granted Nd­lambe Mu­nic­i­pal­ity with a wa­ter use li­cence to ab­stract 0.864ML/day, for three bore­holes that are not af­fected by the pend­ing land agree­ment, with the own­ers. The fourth bore­hole, with land agree­ment yet to be con­cluded, is likely to pro­vide ex­tra 0.173ML/day. This means a to­tal an­tic­i­pated ad­di­tional wa­ter will be lim­ited to about 1ML/day,” Amatola Wa­ter said. Nd­lambe and Amatola Wa­ter are fil­ing an ap­pli­ca­tion for emer­gency aug­men­ta­tions, to con­struct an ad­di­tional pump­ing main from Sarel Hay­ward Dam, which could in­crease the com­bined sup­ply from 5-8ML/day.

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