...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.