... Limpopo pours millions into dozens more boreholes ...
The project will see 63 new boreholes and another 43 revamped
A R105m water and sanitation recovery plan is under way in Limpopo’s Giyani for bulk water supply into more than 50 villages.
According to the department of water and sanitation, the project will see 63 new boreholes and another 43 revamped, as well as the construction of eight water pipelines stretching several kilometres from the Nandoni Dam to Giyani.
Water and sanitation spokesperson Mthobeli Mxotwa said the project was scheduled to be finished by December this year and the department’s water research unit will search for more water in the area to prevent future water shortages.
“When the Giyani recovery plan is completed in December 2019, all the 55 Giyani villages will have access to clean drinking water and will have proper sanitation. The project is expected to revamp the water reticulations, bulk water supply and sanitation.” Mxotwa said phase two of the Giyani recovery plan would deal with other water and sanitation infrastructure work on a long-term basis.
In 2009, the government declared Giyani in the Mopani region a disaster area because of the water crisis. In 2014, former president Jacob Zuma and then water and sanitation minister Nomvula Mokonyane appointed contractors to work there, but many contractors failed to finish a number of water reticulation projects.
Mxotwa told Times Select the new project replaced previous failed endeavours to provide adequate water supplies and sanitation to this underdeveloped rural enclave.
“The previous contractor’s contract was terminated last December. An amount of R89m was retained from the previous contractor. The department has set aside R84m for drought in Giyani,” he added.
He said during a visit to Giyani last week, water and sanitation minister Gugile Nkwinti told the district and local municipality councillors his ambition was to provide safe and hygienic flush toilets to all the rural homes in all the villages.
“Previously water and sanitation infrastructure in Giyani has been badly vandalised by frustrated community members who were disillusioned by the slow progress in the Giyani water construction work.
“In order to arrest the reoccurrence of such unwanted destruction of community properties, the minister has come with the idea of the establishment of a community-based security unit that will be trained by the South African National Defence Force [SANDF] whose responsibility would be to protect the water and sanitation infrastructure projects.”
The department said it expected that municipal councillors would be involved in all community development projects, including in the employment of local people in government infrastructure projects.
“The department will work with the Giyani local municipality for the reticulation of water so that all the villages have adequate water supplies for consumption and sanitation,” Mxotwa said.
He said engineers had been appointed to check that the Giyani water and sanitation construction work adhered to required and acceptable quality standards. The Giyani project will have a community advisory committee that will comprise water users, the local business forum, traditional leaders and the religious fraternity, whose duty it is to oversee that the project runs smoothly. This week the department finally launched the Mzimvubu Water project in the Eastern Cape. The department’s Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority will be appointed as project managers to manage the Mzimvubu water project construction.
“It is envisaged that the Mzimvubu project will generate multiple benefits which will impact positively to the local communities,” he said.
According to the department, the Ntabelanga dam, part of the Mzimvubu project, will supply potable water to 539,100 people in the Eastern Cape’s Joe Gqabi and OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo municipality districts.
Also, the Lalini Dam hydropower plant could generate 23 megawatts of base-load hydropower.
Since 2015, a number of municipalities in almost all provinces were hit hard by the water crisis. Mostly affected was Cape Town, but the latest municipality to face this crisis is Makana, Eastern Cape, which is nearing “day zero”.
The municipality’s four supplier dams have run dry, something that led the Gift of the Givers organisation to distribute water in the area. The dams are very empty: Settlers Dam (12,1%)
Howiesons Poort (22,7%)
Milner Dam (15%) This week, the organisation said Dr Gideon Groenewald, a geologist, struck “liquid gold” when drilling at 145 metres into a rock formation, which is conservatively expected to produce 20,000 litres of water a day.
Dr Imtiaaz Sooliman, from Gift of the Givers, said the aim was to drill at as many sites as possible to provide a sustainable alternative to bottled water, which is an emergency stop-gap measure.
Sooliman said last week the municipality gave the go-ahead to the organisation to start drilling boreholes as a medium-term solution to the water crisis.
Other areas that were badly affected were Beaufort West in the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape’s Graaf-Reinet and North West’s Madibeng and Tswaing local municipalities.
The latter had illegally invested more than R30m meant for service delivery with the troubled VBS without council resolutions.
A number of districts in KwaZulu-Natal were affected by this, and the province suffered a crippling drought throughout 2015 and 2016. This left many farms, towns and rural areas with meagre sources of water.
Mxotwa said his department was working on a number of projects that had been left unfinished.
“The department is working hard to make sure that infrastructure is fixed in all the provinces that have been affected by the water crisis.”