Wanted: R30m to save Makhanda from disaster

2019-03-11 05:17
Picture: News24

Picture: News24

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R30m is needed to save Makhanda from “sinking”, the Gift of the Givers said on Saturday.

The humanitarian organization bas issued a clarion call to government, Rhodes University alumni, tourists and the country at large to assist with donations to keep water in the taps of the historic town.

Last month, the Eastern side of Makhanda, previously Grahamstown, was without water for over a week after the supply from the Fish River scheme to the Glen Melville Dam, whose water level had been low, resulted in sediment being agitated.

At the James Kleynhans water treatment works, this sludged up operations.

This outage caused a delay in the municipality's rush against the clock to avert Day Zero in the opposite end of town reliant on only rain water in the near-empty Settlers Dam.

Experts have devised a plan to save the western end of Makhanda from disaster: getting the James Kleynhans water treatment plant to produce 10 megalitres of clean water per day to supply both the west and the east.

About R140m will be used to expand the treatment plant over two years.

Gift of the Givers have been supplying bottled water to residents since February.

Its specialist hydrologist Dr Gideon Groenewald, drilling expert Martyn Landmann and Food Consulting Services – nationally accredited water testing specialists – did what had to be done, Gift of the Givers’ Imtiaz Sooliman said.

“Eight boreholes have been successfully drilled thus far. Laboratory test results indicate filtration systems have to be installed to provide safe drinking water. Our experts are on it already. The first filtration system should be on site within a few days,” he said.

“The initial phase is three boreholes at Rhodes, one at Settler's Monument, five at the Waainek Reservoir, four at Botha's Ridge, two at Ntsika School, one each at the Cathedral, SANDF, Correctional Services and the K9 unit, all with filtration systems.”

“We expect a yield of 5 million litres of water per day as a conservative estimate for this first phase.”

SPECIAL REPORT | Makhanda: The day the taps ran dry

He appealed to government, corporate sponsors, alumni and anyone with a historical attachment to the town to assist with donations to Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account Number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref. Makhanda.

“We are here to assist the people, students, farmers, animals and the livelihoods of those from within and without, who come to exhibit their wares during the various fairs. But we can't do this alone.

“’Saving’ Makhanda creates a model for saving other areas in our country. Only South Africans can save South Africa. We are in this together. Now is not the time for the blame game, opportunism, electioneering or politicking. It is time for altruism, generosity and co-operation.”

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