Monday, May 17, 2021

Water shortages haunt North East District

Water supply across most of the North East District villages continues to be a serious challenge. The situation is made worse by the fact that summer is a peak demand season for water. 

The revelation was made by the North East District Council Chairperson Florence Mpetsane during a full council meeting last week in Masunga. She said it has become prominent that Ntimbale Dam Water Supply Infrastructure has no capacity to meet normal water demand and the problem becomes more pronounced during this season.

“Dam levels for Dikgatlhong, Letsibogo and Shashe however stood at 84 percent, 81 percent and 78 percent respectively which are healthy levels able to supply downstream consumers for a minimum of 16 months each. In addition the District has three villages with stand-alone water supply systems being Butale which is supplied from a borehole, Patayamatebele and Matopi which are supplied from a well point in Tati and Ramokgwebana rivers,” Mpetsane said She said rationing water will therefore continue across the district to ease supply shortages in Tati West Constituency. On private or yard water connections she revealed that the backlog of water connections as at September 2016 stood at 305. She said this increase from 113 of last quarter was mainly due to a high number of new connection requests.

“The main challenge that seriously hinders timely water connections is inadequate land servicing in most of North East District villages and shortage of resources. However Water Utilities Cooperation continues to strive towards reducing the turn around time in an effort to connect customers within WUC standard of one month,” said the council chairperson.

Touching on Water Supply Development Projects, Mpetsane said the tender to supply and install a standby electric power supply generator at Ntimbale Dam Pump station was awarded on May 11, 2016. She said delivery of the power generator was expected in September 2016 but due to delays by the manufacturer, delivery date has been postponed to December 2016. She added that the commissioning of the project is expected to be carried out before end of this year and it is envisaged that it will assist in minimizing water supply interruptions attributed to BPC power failures.

“Another project aimed at addressing water supply deficit for villages in Tati East Constituency and even caters for supply of Tutume Sub District from Ntimbale Dam is the North East Village Water Supply Scheme project. The design and tender documentation for the project were completed in Novemebr 2014. Funds permitting, this project will continue into the construction phase,” she said.

In addition Mpetsane said the Matsiloje ÔÇô Matopi and Ditladi Patayamatebele water supply interconnection schemes have been approved for funding. She said preliminary design works have been completed and the implementation of these projects will commence once funds are available. On Prepaid Public Stand Pipes she said 264 out of 350 pre-paid standpipes have been installed throughout the district and are functional.

“This translates to 75 percent of the standpipes, with most non-functional units affected by vandalism and improper operation. Supply of spare for maintenance is also a challenge leading to standpipes being in a state of disrepair for couple of weeks. WUC has now managed to build internal capacity to expeditiously repair dysfunctional standpipes in ÔÇôhouse,” she explained.

Among other important issues, she said the Department of Wildlife continues to experience an increase in human and wildlife conflicts. She said 228 cases were registered reporting frequent damages caused by elephants at Patayamatebele, Ditladi, Matopi and Matsiloje while few incidents were reported at Zwenshambe, Mapoka, Tshesebe and others.

“The damages incurred amount to P961 398.00 and the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism is currently facilitating compensation payments. The number of incidents are increasing as compared to previous years and this may be influenced by increased elephant populations,” she said.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper