Saturday, July 24, 2021

POOR INFRASTRUCTURAL DESIGN BLAMED FOR WATER SHORTAGE IN NORTH EAST DISTRICT

Villages in the North East District are continuing to face water shortages due to poor design of the water infrastructure. Over the past five years Masunga Management Centre has been sourcing water from two main sources; Ntimbale Dam with a treatment plant at Masingwaneng village and Maitengwe Wellfields.

The Ntimbale treatment plant which is situated in Masingwaneng village has a design capacity of 14 billion litre per day and Maitengwe Wellfields has 10 boreholes and three transfer stations designed to produce 3.29 million litres per day.

Despite availability of these resources, pumping inefficiencies at Masingwaneng Treatment Plant results in the plant producing just over half of the design capacity, that is 7.8 million litres per day instead of 14 million litres per day. The revelation was made by the

North East District Council (NEDC) Chairperson Florah Mpetsane during a full council meeting last week.

“Furthermore, the pump station located at Mbalambi village is also not adequately designed to supply water to Masunga and the villages in the eastern side of North East. These design inefficiencies resulted in water rationing to certain parts of the scheme hence water shortage problems in villages such as Senyawe, Ramokgwebana, Jackalas 1 and Themashanga,” she said.

Mpetsane however said given challenges faced by Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) in meeting water demand for Maitengwe and Ntimbale supply zones there is light at the end of the tunnel. She said several interventions were explored over the past five years to mitigate against water supply shortfalls. Amongst these is installation of Ntimbale Dam Pump station standby generator set at a cost of P1.2million in 2015. She said this strategic project was conceived to ensure that Ntimbale scheme operates throughout, even during power failures.

“Another project is the design and review of tender documentation for the North East – Tutume Sub District Water Supply project and construction which is at tendering stage. Construction is expected to commence in November 2019,” she said.

Mpetsane also added that design and construction of a Mechanical workshop at Ntimbale is expected to improve plant down time as most repairs will be done locally in-house, thus expedite repair works. She said the project will cost over P1.4 million and expected to be complete in December 2019. She said all these projects are expected to improve the water situation in North East District.

“Electrification of five boreholes at four villages; Vukwi, Siviya, Butale and two at Moroka are also at tender documentation stage. These projects are aimed at augmenting water supply within the district,” she said.

On a different note she said despite efforts by Water Utilities Corporation to provide portable water in the district, cases of vandalism of water lines are still experienced. She implored the councilors to work hand in hand with the Corporation to address the problem.

On other  issues plaguing the district, Mpetsane expressed disappointment over Youth Development Fund (YDF) projects. She said that while YDF has been beneficial in reducing unemployment among youth in the district, the programme was facing challenges.

“YDF programme experiences challenges such as lack of commitment by some beneficiaries, leading to high collapse rate of projects. A total of 15 projects (7.5 percent) of the 201 projects funded in a period between 2014- 2015 and 2018-2019 have already collapsed,” Mpetsane said.

She said other challenges include; non production of monthly progress reports and failure to service loans. She also said another challenge experienced is that these businesses are in the agricultural sector particularly small stock and are not performing well because of insufficient pasture and poor management. Mpetsane said there is need for more conceited efforts by all concerned stakeholders to reverse this phenomenon to derive maximum benefits from the programme going forward.

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