The ongoing water supply interruptions which have been plaguing parts of Rustenburg such as Tlhabane, Tlhabane West among other areas are a growing concern to the Executive Mayor of Rustenburg. The City, has been working around the clock for a number of months to resolve the water supply issue, which has adversely affected the residents’ way of life. The Municipality in the last two years, has spent a sizeable portion of its budget to address the water supply interruptions which had become too frequent and a great inconvenience.
Earlier today, the Executive Mayor accompanied by the Municipal Manager convened an extraordinary service delivery meeting which focused on the challenges regarding water supply part of Rustenburg, to gain better insight into the water supply challenges, even after the RLM rolled-out an AC pipe replacement project in late 2018, which had intended to deal the the ageing infrastructure as well as improve water reticulation efficiencies.
In his opening remarks, which was attended by the senior management of the Technical and Infrastructure Services Directorate as well as the Council’s Single Whip – Councillor Levy Mokwele and Ward Councillors Latelang Nkgoang and Kabelo Mokotedi were part of the meeting to make known the concerns of their different constituencies who bore the brunt of the water supply challenges to their homestead. The Municipality, has been working hard to increase the system’s capacity to deal with their high water consumption by also commissioning new water supply lines, and these efforts have not yielded the desired results.  “Over two years ago, following the many complaints which of course are legitimate the Municipality has set some funds aside to deal with the water supply issues, and it is regrettable that regardless of the interventions which have been put in place, very little has been achieved in an attempt to resolve the water issue. We need to dig deep and conduct a thorough audit of all the work which has been done, and to ensure that we have the best expertise contracted to assist the municipality as our people cannot go on further like this” Mayor Khunou said.
Councillors highlighted that the interruptions have reached alarming levels and residents are now more interested in a long-lasting solution, over the communication issued by the Municipality on the technical/operational challenges which are being experienced, causing the water supply interruptions. The deliberations in the meeting, established the following issues which continue to contribute to the ongoing water supply issues:
  • Greater Boitekong, Tlhabane, Tlhabane West and Geelhout Park are supplied from the
Vaalkop system, which currently is unable to stabilize to ensure continued water supply.
  • The system continues to experience interruptions which are beyond the RLM’s operational capabilities to address such as poorer water quality which forces the water supply cuts, in order to refill the system with an improved water quality
  • Most of the water infrastructure on the Magalies Water supply line operated by the Municipality uses gravitational forces and accumulated water pressure within the system for sufficient water flow to the reservoirs and ultimately residential areas, to ensure access to water
  • Further, RLM draws water from the same system which other commercial customers to Magalies Water have been permitted to get their water. The implication on the usage of pump stations by other customers and use of gravitational forces to draw water by the Municipality, puts the RLM at a disadvantage for the required daily supply.
  • The water team has identified, that water demand in the City continues to outstrip the current supply due to the size of diameter pipes, some of which when continually pressured burst, given the age and resistance.
  • Water Supply to Rustenburg due to scheduled and unscheduled repairs and maintenance on the side of the water service provider.
  • Greater Boitekong, has a high number of water leakages, which contributes to the City’s water losses and decreased water pressure within the system, which results in some of the high lying areas not receiving water, due to the reduced pressure which disables the required flow for high located reservoirs and residential areas.
The Municipality, having noted all the challenges, has moved swiftly to appoint a service provider – water engineering contractor and consulting engineers, to address the sources of the identified challenges. The appointed service provider will undertake the following tasks in resolving the challenges experienced by the Municipality:
  • Water Augmentation
  • Pressure Management
  • Bulk Metering
  • Air Valve Replacement
  • Pump Station upgrading maintenance
  • Repair of Leaks
  • Pipe Replacements
The Municipal Manager – Mr. Victor Makona said, it is concerning that to this point, the Municipality has not yet realized the results of an improved water system. “we will be keeping a close eye on the project, which aims to address to all of the challenges and we appreciate the efforts of our Councillor of ensuring that their constituencies are well informed of the situation on the ground. We will be monitoring the work of the contractor and engineers to ensure we derive value for money” Mr. Makona said.
The project intends to increase the capacity of the City’s pump stations, therefore by ensuring that sufficient water is pumped into the reservoirs to meet the end-user consumption demands therefore, addressing the implementation of more frequent water cuts to allow for the system to accumulate enough water for use by residents.
The project will additionally focus on the water leaks, which are more prevalent in Greater Boitekong, which will reduce substantially the water losses on the side of the Municipality as well as reduces water pressure in the system created by the leaks. The Executive Mayor, said it was critical that the DTIS develops a plan, which will address water related challenges in other parts of the City, as the RLM will have full control and authority over the water infrastructure and therefore, the use of engineers should not blind the Municipality from it permanent responsibility.