Decay cause of crisis

2019-06-26 06:02
Residents stand in a long queue to fetch water at one of the Mangaung Metro Municipality premises in Rocklands, Bloemfontein.Photo: Teboho Setena

Residents stand in a long queue to fetch water at one of the Mangaung Metro Municipality premises in Rocklands, Bloemfontein.Photo: Teboho Setena

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Decaying of the main water pipeline has been identified as the major cause of the water crisis experienced from Friday (21/06) to Monday (24/06) in parts of Bloemfontein.

Residents in high-lying areas were mostly affected until late on Monday.

The water crisis affected residents in the Mangaung Metro Municipality’s three towns, Bloemfontein, Wepener and Dewetsdorp.

Desperate residents were spotted with containers criss-crossing Bloemfontein searching for water during the three days that the taps were dry.

Kido Thoabala, Bloem Water spokesperson, said the crisis was because of a burst of the main pipeline, affecting supply to the three towns.

The pipeline reportedly burst on Friday.

“The pipeline, made from asbestos cement, is more than 45 years old.”

The problem of the decaying pipeline is being addressed by the construction of a new one made of steel, currently stretching over 33,7 km, said Thoabala.

She said the pipeline burst shortly after the completion of the planned winter maintenance.

The pipe burst occurred during the filling process to supply water.

“Investigation conducted reveal the section of that pipeline had weak spots causing the pipeline to burst as result of the line filling pressure.

“Repairs were concluded under 36 hours which is the normal time to repair the 1,2 m diameter pipeline,” she said.

This was the second pipe burst during June, following another on 4 June between the Die Hoek and Uitkyk Reservoirs, not far from Dewetsdorp.

Thoabala said the pipeline was designed to last for about 40 years, but its lifespan was extended to a few more years thanks to Bloem Water’s good maintenance strategy.

“The entity has managed to operate the pipeline beyond this period while the new steel pipeline is still constructed,” she said.

Bloem Water is working with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and the Mangaung Metro Municipality on the project to ensure a more stable water supply to the city.

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