No rain, more heat and wa­ter cuts for city

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - STAFF RE­PORTER

WITH lit­tle chance of rain for the re­main­der of this week, Kim­ber­ley res­i­dents have been warned to pre­pare for the dry, hot con­di­tions in the city to con­tinue.

Ac­cord­ing to the SA Weather Of­fice, there is lit­tle to no chance of rain for the re­main­der of this week, while tem­per­a­tures will stay in the high 30s.

The ris­ing mer­cury has been blamed on El Nino, which looks set to af­fect the en­tire south­ern hemi­sphere.

El Nino is the warm­ing of sea-sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the equa­to­rial Pa­cific Ocean which in­flu­ences at­mo­spheric cir­cu­la­tion, and con­se­quently rain­fall and tem­per­a­ture in spe­cific ar­eas around the world.

As sea tem­per­a­tures rise, the air be­comes more dry and hu­mid, in­flu­enc­ing hot­ter weather pat­terns. This is re­spon­si­ble for mak­ing hot sum­mers even hot­ter and se­verely lim­its the amount of rain­fall across the coun­try.

The Sol Plaatje Mu­nic­i­pal­ity has mean­while warned that the nightly shut-downs of wa­ter will con­tinue for the fore­see­able fu­ture as the lo­cal au­thor­ity is un­able to meet the city’s con­sump­tion de­mands.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son, Sello Mat­sie, ex­plained yes­ter­day that the lev­els at the New­ton Reser­voir had to be main­tained in or­der for the pres­sure tower to pro­vide wa­ter to high-ly­ing ar­eas of the city.

“We will con­tinue with the nightly shut-down of wa­ter from the New­ton Reser­voir in or­der to en­sure that the dams at the reser­voir main­tain the re­quired lev­els. We know this is not the ideal sit­u­a­tion and we will have to look at long-term so­lu­tions.”

Mat­sie ex­plained that the low-ly­ing ar­eas of the city, in­clud­ing Galeshewe and Rood­e­pan, were not re­liant on wa­ter from the New­ton Reser­voir and were fed di­rectly from the main pipe­line from River­ton.

Among the medium to long-term so­lu­tions that will need to be looked at in­clude in­creas­ing the vol­ume of wa­ter ex­tracted from the Vaal River as well as the fil­tra­tion process.

Cur­rently there are two fil­tra­tion plants, although the old plant is presently only work­ing at 50% ca­pac­ity and one pos­si­ble sce­nario would be to in­crease the ca­pac­ity of this plant.

The vol­ume of wa­ter pumped from River­ton is also dic­tated by the ca­pac­ity of the pumps. The old pump house at River­ton can presently only pump at around 1 200 to 1 300 litres per sec­ond. This will in­crease to around 1 500 litres per sec­ond when the new plant is com­mis­sioned.

The new plant was orig­i­nally sched­uled to come on-line in Novem­ber last year, but it is now ex­pected that it will be only be com­pleted shortly be­fore win­ter.

De­spite the in­creased pump­ing ca­pac­ity of the new plant, the city is also lim­ited by the size of two lines, a 900mm pipe­line and a 450mm pipe­line, that carry wa­ter from River­ton to Kim­ber­ley. An­other pos­si­ble sce­nario to en­sure a con­stant sup­ply of wa­ter to New­ton would be for the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to pro­vide a third ded­i­cated line from River­ton to New­ton. This, how­ever, is ex­pected to cost hun­dreds of mil­lions of rands and is not yet on the cards.

In the mean­time, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity has ap­pealed to res­i­dents to make ev­ery ef­fort to re­duce their con­sump­tion.

Adding to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s wa­ter woes is the fact that the pump which pro­vides grey wa­ter from the Homevale Waste Wa­ter Treat­ment Works to the city’s gar­dens and parks has been out of or­der for sev­eral years. Mat­sie confirmed yes­ter­day that the pump had been bro­ken for more than 10 years, mean­ing that the city could not wa­ter its pub­lic gar­dens.

A mem­ber of the pub­lic pointed out re­cently that thou­sands of rands were be­ing spent by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity on pur­chas­ing seedlings for the city’s is­lands, which were never wa­tered and with­ered and died within a week.

“It is so sad to see these seedlings, which look beau­ti­ful for a few days, just shrivel up and die be­cause they are never wa­tered. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity should look rather at putting in suc­cu­lents or plants that are drought-re­sis­tant,” she added. “One won­ders how much money is spent on pur­chas­ing these seedlings when ev­ery­one knows they will never be wa­tered.”

Ac­cord­ing to Mat­sie, how­ever, the plants are wa­tered from spe­cial wa­ter tanks. “Putting in the seedlings is part of the at­tempt by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to beau­tify the city.”

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