34 boreholes planned

2020-04-16 14:30
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Msunduzi is considering reallocating about R18,5 million of its municipal infrastructure grant (MIG) to drill 34 boreholes for communities grappling with water problems.

This is part of the city’s emergency relief management plan for Covid-19, which includes ensuring all Pietermaritzburg residents are supplied with water to mitigate the spread of the virus.

The estimated 8 160 households that stand to benefit from this emergency project are scattered across 15 wards in different parts of the city — from Vulindlela, Mafakatini, Henley and Ezinketheni next to Copesville.

The Witness previously reported on the challenges of water supply faced by most of the communities identified for the project as residents claimed they sometimes go for days without getting a tanker to supply their areas.

According to a report, which The Witness has seen, the scope of work for the project covers the implementation and commissioning of new boreholes to form part of the new bulk water infrastructure.

“The geophysical studies will be undertaken to determine the available groundwater volume of aquifers, which can sustain the existing communities which are currently without basic water,” read the document.

Apparently the Msunduzi water department has indicated that the project forms part of its “short-term solution” but it is in the process of implementing a long-term plan with bulk supply pipelines and reservoirs.

On Wednesday Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla said the council had to quickly respond to the outbreak of Covid-19 and implement emergency measures that would contain the spread of the virus, and these plans include this project.

“The only way we can fight the spread of Covid-19 is through strict hygiene practices and that includes regularly washing hands. That cannot be done unless people have access to water,” Thebolla said.

He said Msunduzi has been trying its best to ensure supply to all its 39 wards by installing static tanks and sending tankers where its infrastructure is either failing or non-existent.

However, Thebolla said, they still needed a sustainable solution to the problem and that is when the proposal of boreholes was mooted.

“We know Msunduzi is rich in ground water but studies have to be done to see if we can tap into that resource to help our people not just for this period but for these communities to have continuous supply of water,” Thebolla said.

He added that the law allows for the municipality to reappropriate funds from the MIG grant for other infrastructure projects if it believes it cannot spend that money before the end of the financial year.

“The lockdown has resulted in many of our projects being put on hold and we don’t know when they will resume so the plan is to use the funds initially allocated for those.

“It’s clear that we will not be able to spend all the grant funding before the end of the financial year, which is in June,” said Thebolla.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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