Emergency efforts to restore the collapsed Maluti-a-Phofung Municipality’s water infrastructure and save lives are being made. These measures include the supply of water via mobile tanks and the repair of the collapsed water infrastructure.
Measures are taken by the provincial Department of Water and Sanitation, the Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, as well as Maluti-a-Phofung Water.
According to Dr Tshediso Ntili, provincial manager of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), these measures follow a severe drop in water levels to 10% at the Fika Patso Dam, as the drought persists.
He said the provision of water via tankers was a short-term solution.
“Some of the interventions currently implemented include the reversal facility located in the Phuthaditjhaba Park close to the Phuthaditjhaba Police Station. The system reservoirs, reversal and pipelines from the northern bulk storage are available for use by Maluti-a-Phofung Water to supply the greater Phuthaditjhaba area and are currently in use,” said Ntili.
He said water supply to the upper area was insufficient due to high usage by residents in the lower part of Phuthaditjhaba.
Ntili said the refurbishment of dysfunctional boreholes in the drought-stricken areas had to be given priority.
“Some of the boreholes require electrification and should be operational soon.”
According to Leona Kleynhans, DA member in the provincial legislature, there are supposed to be 60 boreholes in the greater Qwaqwa.
“This crisis comes after the national government recently allocated R30 million for boreholes. However, due to cadre deployment policies and continuous financial malfeasance, the area remains poverty stricken and is now collapsing at a rapid rate,” said Kleynhans.
“This disaster could have been prevented if all the funds allocated from the National Treasury over many years had been used effectively to expand the pipeline network, maintain the existing system, dredge the Fika Patso Dam to increase capacity and drill and equip the boreholes for which the funds were received.”
Kleynhans said the crisis to supply water was one of the major complex challenges impacting negatively on the estimated population of 380 000 of the greater Qwaqwa under the Maluti-a-Phufong Municipality.