Kimberley - Kimberley residents can expect to live with low water pressure and water cuts for several more months as the city fails to cope with the demand for water.
“We are pumping at full capacity from Riverton, yet we are not able to meet the demand and the water levels at the Newton Reservoir continue to drop,” spokesman for the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, said on Monday.
Irate residents throughout the city experienced extremely low water pressure and even no water at times over the weekend and yesterday.
And the message from the municipality is get used to it.
One solution that is being mooted in the long term is to establish a dedicated 1 200mm line from Riverton to the Newton Reservoir.
“At the moment, we have two lines, a 600mm and a 900mm line,” Matsie said.
“What is happening is that the main line – the 900mm – first feeds Galeshewe and Roodepan before the water comes to the Newton Reservoir.”
Matsie pointed out that considering that 40 percent of the city’s population lived in Galeshewe, it meant that a vast amount of water was being used en route and the city was not receiving enough water to meet the current demand.
“We are pumping at maximum capacity from Riverton but we are only getting the left-over water at the Newton Reservoir,” Matsie added.
This, coupled with water losses, estimated to be more than 40 percent, mainly due to burst water pipes, is leaving the municipality at a total loss as to its next move.
“The situation is that for several days the water level at the Newton Reservoir will remain fairly constant at between 14 to 16 feet, and then suddenly it will drop down to nine feet, which is where we start experiencing problems.
“This just does not make sense because there is nothing causing this sudden drop. There is no massive usage or serious failures that we can attribute as the reason for the sudden drop in water levels at Newton.”
He added that despite the dire situation, the municipality was not likely to introduce water restrictions.
“The reality is that because of the high cost of water, people are already cutting back on water usage for non-essential purposes like watering their gardens,” Matsie added.
There are also no major water users in Kimberley to warrant water restrictions.
Matsie confirmed that the municipality would continue to cut water off at night – probably for the foreseeable future – “because we are just not coping with the demand and the levels at Newton are continuing to drop”.
“There will also be times when the water pressure will be extremely low.”
One of the more immediate solutions being looked at is the staffing situation at Riverton itself.
Matsie confirmed on Monday that there was no senior manager based at the plant and every time there was an electrical or mechanical fault, someone had to be called from Kimberley.
“This leads to down time and is one of the areas that needs to be addressed.”
Residents with expertise in this field are also asked to come forward and offer assistance and advice.
“This is our town. We are all part of it and we need to pull together to address the challenges facing us. It is no good to just point out the problems; we need to come up with solutions,” Matsie added.
The Executive Mayor, Agnes Ntlhangula, is expected to also address the issue of the water during her mid-term budget report, which will be presented at a special council meeting tomorrow.
Meanwhile, a pipe that burst in Schmidtsdrift Road on Monday left frustrated residents in parts of Verwoerd Park and West End without water.
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