Run­ning dry

...but some hope as Xonxa project nears com­ple­tion


AS THE water cri­sis in the Chris Hani dis­trict deep­ens, the mul­ti­mil­lion-rand Xonxa Dam pipe­line is ex­pected to start sup­ply­ing water to Ko­mani and sur­rounds by the end of the year.

The ex­act date is not known. The Chris Hani Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity (CHDM) is­sued a state­ment this week which in­di­cated that the dis­trict and the Ko­mani area in par­tic­u­lar was fac­ing a ma­jor cri­sis with the drought af­fect­ing water sources. The sit­u­a­tion was ex­ac­er­bated by a re­cent heat­wave that led to an in­creased de­mand while the McEwan pump sta­tion was prone to fre­quent stop­pages. Leaks had been de­tected at gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and schools and the Bonkolo Dam was un­able to pro­vide re­lief as it was be­low mea­sur­able lev­els. The Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s only source of sup­ply, the Wa­ter­down Dam, was un­able to cope with the de­mand “as water chan­neled to our reser­voirs from this source must im­me­di­ately be dis­patched to con­sumers due to de­mand”.

This re­sulted in de­pleted reser­voirs and such low water pres­sure that water could not be pro­vided to

higher ly­ing ar­eas. CHDM had pre­vi­ously in­tro­duced water cuts be­tween 8pm and 5am to al­low reser­voir lev­els to in­crease.

Ko­mani was solely de­pen­dent on the Wa­ter­down Dam and with the dam level at 60.7% as per the lat­est fig­ures pro­vided by the water af­fairs depart­ment, the depart­ment had in­di­cated it would de­crease the al­lo­ca­tion to the area should dam lev­els reach 55%, lead­ing to fur­ther re­stric­tions.

CHDM has in­structed res­i­dents to con­serve water, in­clud­ing not wa­ter­ing gar­dens and lawns and not wash­ing cars with hosepipes.

Busi­ness and pub­lic en­ti­ties have also been tasked to save water and to re­port out­side leaks. Re­stric­tions are set to con­tinue with water to low-ly­ing ar­eas ra­tioned in the day to ben­e­fit high-ly­ing ar­eas.

Spot fines were be­ing planned for trans­gres­sors. CHDM was plan­ning as­sess­ments and leak re­pairs with in­for­ma­tion on 0800-100-100 or (045) 838-1697.

In Ilinge, res­i­dents protested against the lack of water last week with a meet­ing with CHDM fail­ing to ma­te­ri­alise this week. In Dor­drecht, water re­mains scarce.

On March 20, 2015 (“Pipe­line progress” The Rep), in­di­ca­tions were that the date for trans­fer­ence of water from the Xonxa Dam as part of the project to aug­ment the lo­cal water sup­ply would start in the first quar­ter of this year.

In April this year (“Xonxa pipe­line in July”), CHDM in­di­cated the project would be­come op­er­a­tional in July.

The Xonxa Dam is cur­rently at 96.1%.

At the time, CHDM spokes­woman Thobeka Mqamelo said the fi­nal com­mis­sion and han­dover af­ter a 28-day trial pe­riod was ex­pected at the end of Au­gust with the sys­tem to Machib­ini and Ilinge ex­pected to be func­tional to­wards the end of 2018.

De­lays were due to fund­ing.

In re­sponse to queries this week, Mqamelo said the Xonxa Dam trans­fer project was ex­pected to near com­ple­tion by the end of the year. CHDM had en­listed the ser­vices of a com­pe­tent con­sul­tancy firm and con­trac­tors “and as such we ex­pect a work­ing fi­nal prod­uct to be handed over to us on com­ple­tion.”

As for Dor­drecht, pump­ing from the dam and bore­holes were hap­pen­ing. A re­sponse on Ilinge would be forth­com­ing soon.

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