Electricity cuts fuel water issues

2017-02-08 06:03

Residents in the Free State municipalities owing Eskom close to R700 million now face another severe threat. With power cuts still looming, they could soon be without water. The indebted municipalities include Mantsopa, Masilonyana, Dihlabeng, Nketoana, Nala and Tokologo.

Thulo Mohapi, department of water and sanitation consultant for regional bulk, said that cutting off or interrupting the electricity supply not only affected the supply of water, but sanitation as well.

“The waste water treatment plants will get flooded due to the inability to treat the influx of sewage during a power outage,” said Mohapi.

“The crux of the matter is that these resources all operate with the assistance of electricity and unfortunately cannot operate without it.”

He said the effects of sewage flooding into the rivers lead to the prevalence of E. coli, which causes health problems.

“This would impact badly on the health of animals and people who live downstream. During power cuts, people still use the toilets with water government provides with tanks, not realising that the waste water treatment plant is not in operation.”

Mpho Manyama, provincial director of infrastructure development of the department, said that in a normal setting, every town should have 48 hours of water supply in the ­eventuality that a power cut takes place.

“However, the steady growth of the population decreases this amount drastically, as more water is being used on a daily basis. Water has to be pumped up with electrical pumps to reservoirs and then water is supplied to the residence with the assistance of gravity,” said Manyama.

“Without electricity, the pumps cannot get water to the reservoirs, from where it will be able to move downward. The other problem is that most boreholes also use electricity to pump water.”

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