Will there ever be water in Craigieburn pipeline?

2016-04-06 06:00

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ONCE upon a time, not so long ago, Greytonians were told a fairy tale about a magic pipeline costing millions, which would bring an end to the waterless situation in the drought-stricken town. By the waving of the Umzinyathi District Municipality and Department of Water’s magic wand water would flow through a 35km pipeline from Craigieburn to Greytown Water Works.

Early last year, when the powers that be realised the rain fairy really was on strike they publicly assured all that they would be provided with a new raw water supply from Craigieburn dam backed up by Phase 2, which was the increase of the water purification capacity at Greytown Water Treatment Works, however this phase has been put on hold. But this stop-and-go project, originally with a March 2014 completion date, has become more stop than go. That 2014 completion date also wandered into fantasy as contractors only moved on site in 2015. Currently not operative at all the only sign of movement is the growth of weeds and grass in the trenches and reservoir as can be seen in these photographs. May apparently has now become September which is also probably in the realms of fantasy.

Take a drive along the Greytown-Rietvlei road towards Craigieburn and see the hundreds and hundreds of 500mm to 400mm diameter mortar-lined pipes just lying there as the weeds, grass and sand coat them and fill the trenches where the pipes should be.

Costs of the project have soared through the many delays - originally costed at R290 million in 2008 - the last figure was over R500 million, which excludes the ever-increasing millions to accelerate the completion of this vital water source. According to statements made by Umzinyathi representatives at public meetings in Greytown, R6.5 million was made available to accelerate the completion of the project by May. And as far as can be ascertained, the Department of Water and Sanitation has made these vast additional sums of money available to the Umzinyathi District Municipality to ensure that contractors get on and do the job within the time limit - that is before the water supply runs out.

Looking at the state of the non-existing pipeline, as seen in these photographs. Is it surprising that the big question now is - will the pipeline from Craigieburn dam to Greytown Water Works ever be completed and operative?

Stop press: The Greytown Gazette
requested comment from Umzinyathi on the state of the pipeline, but at the time of going to press comment was still awaited.

Lake Merthley is currently 21.22% full.

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