Monday, October 26, 2020

North East water crisis: Govt cushions supply

Government has finally begun the upgrade and remedial works for the North East – Tutume Sub District Water Supply Scheme in an effort to cushion water supply challenges that have been plaguing the districts for years.


The long awaited project which was financed by the World Bank at over P200 million will entail among others; expansion and upgrading of Masingwaneng Water Treatment Works, construction of a pump stations and water reservoir at Kalakamati and Mbalambi villages. There will also be construction of storage tanks in Tutume, Maitengwe, Moroka, Ramokgwebana, Jackalas no 1, Jacklalas no 2 and Nshakazhogwe.


Government has engaged Unik Construction Engineering (Pty) Ltd, a Chinese company to undertake this project. It commenced on 8th May 2020 and expected to be complete on the 1st of August 2021.


Upon completion the project will help ease the flow of water supply to 52 villages across these districts and 110 000 residents are expected to benefit.


Last week the Minister of Land, Water and Sanitation Services Kefentse Mzwinila performed ground breaking ceremonies in various villages in North East District and Tutume Sub District to mark the commencement of the project.


Speaking during one of the ground breaking ceremonies in Kalakamati village he said the current water demand for the villages is about 14 000 cubic metres per day and it is projected to reach about 18 000 cubic metres per day by 2033.


“The North East –Tutume Sub District Water Supply Scheme has two sources; Maitengwe well field and Ntimbale Dam which are used conjunctively. The Maitengwe wellfield has a recommended safe water extraction rate of about 3, 300 cubic meters per day against the current rate of extraction rate of 8 600 cubic meters per day presenting a clear over-mining of boreholes,” he said.


The minister explained that the effects of over-mining may be depreciating water quality or the drying out of the well field. On the other hand he said Ntimbale Dam water scheme through the treatment plant in Masingwaneng village was designed to produce 14 000 cubic metres per day, but currently producing only 7 000 cubic meters per day. However Mzwinila said it is important to note that most villages in Tati West Constituency receive water supply except for Jackalas 1 due to its elevation challenges.


“Moroka village on the other hand has a deficit of 100 cubic meters per day. The other area of concern is Makaleng where we are currently experiencing frequent water  pipe bursts because some material used in pipes cannot sustain the existing pressures necessary for the distribution of water in the entire village,” The minister said.


He further revealed that there is shortage of water in Letsholathebe village where they are currently rationing when supplying Masunga Secondary School which has a high population. The minister explained that they regulate water flow to Letsholathebe to supply the school, a challenge which becomes pronounced when school opens. He said they are currently working hand in hand with the North East District council to augment the supply of water to these affected villages.


Among other important issues he said the new project will pump water in two parts; between Masingwaneng and Kalakamati villages thereby improving scheme efficiency.
“When the project is commissioned, there will be a good opportunity for adequate water supplies for at least a day while maintaining the systems during breakdowns. Kalakamati village has had reliable water supply mainly because of its close proximity to Ntimbale water treatment plant, despite that this project will cater for projected high water demands for the village as it continues to grow both in size and in water demand in the future,” said Mzwinila.


The minister said through this project, there will be increased water quantity and quality supply by Water Utilities Corporation(WUC). He said consistent supply of the right quality and quantity is very important at this moment given the outbreak of the Corvid 19 pandemic. In conclusion he pleaded with the contractor to complete the project within the stipulated minimal period as much as possible.
The minister also commissioned completion of the construction of Shashe Mooke village primary water supply infrastructure on Friday. The village had been experiencing acute shortage of water due to the growth in demand.

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