Friday, January 22, 2021

WUCs’ ailing water infrastructure causes shut down

BY KABELO SEITSHIRO

Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) routine camera monitored inspections of the Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) water pipeline have revealed the pipeline is showing signs of failure necessitating a complete shutdown of the North South Carrier water pipeline for replacement.

The P440 million exercises is expected to cover a stretch of about 23 kilometres from Rasesa village to Mmamashia village along the A1 road.

WUC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mmetla Masire, confirmed the Corporation is replacing the pipeline because the water Authority wants to ensure the reliability of the pipeline.

He said the reason to replace the pipeline arises because the Corporation had commissioned   Pump Station 4.1 (Serorome Valley) which is required to pump water from Mmamashia to Gaborone at a high pressure. He added that the GRP cannot handle high additional pressure and needs replacement.

Asked for comment on the timing of the maintenance of the pipeline, Masire said that after finishing the Mmamashia-Kanyepipe line, the corporation will need additional water to meet demand for the Gaborone greater areas.

“The contract has already been awarded and work has started. Failure to shut down would mean that the contract is delayed which will have cost implications,” said Masire.

He further stated that the main contractor – a joint venture between Land Mark Projects and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) – need to access the project which is why the shut down has to happen this week.

Further quizzed on what will happen to the water needs of affected residents during the shutdown, Masire said the WUC does not anticipate major disruptions in terms of water supply to greater Gaborone as water volumes from Gaborone and Bokaa dams will be increased.

He added that unlike the previous challenges they experienced, Gaborone dam at the time was dry and this time the dam has adequate water. He said with the combination of both dams and other interventions the impact will be minimal as they relate to the greater Gaborone.

“The shut down has to happen and after the first shut down we will re-evaluate the contingency plans we have. This will be what is called after action review,” said Masire.

He said on average the Corporation will in two to three weeks shut downs. He said other planned shutdown schedules will be communicated to the public.

He revealed that there will a month in between the shut downs to re-saturate and bring back the system to normality before moving to the next shut down. He promised there will be minimal impact to the end user and on the system.

“If we delay, the contractor by not giving them access to the pipe and not allowing the shutdown to happen, and further leading to cost overruns, the contractor will charge us. We do don’t see any reason why there should a cost overrun,” he stated.

WUC Masire said the schedule indicates that the entire project is finishing end of September 2019 for major upgrade works that entail replacement of old GRP pipes with steel pipes.

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