Welcome to a special updates edition of Water Weekly. There is so much to update the community about this week, we will not be following our regular format. Below, please see pertinent news about the water crisis.
In the last few days, load shedding has been implemented nationally. This has impacted on Makana Municipality’s ability to supply water to the town and campus because electricity is needed to pump water from the dams into the water treatment works and then into the reservoirs supplying the reticulation system. When water cannot be pumped, reservoirs supplying higher-lying areas of town run dry first, followed by those areas supplied by the intermediate reservoirs. As much of the campus is supplied by reservoirs located at the higher levels, this means that water outages are experienced in the residences.
Vandalism and theft
In addition to problems caused by load shedding, a record number of thefts and acts of vandalism relating to the town’s water infrastructure have also impacted on the Municipality’s ability to supply water. The South African Police Service are working with the Municipality to ensure that each of these instances is properly investigated.
Water reductions are not being adhered to
Although water restrictions are already in place, it would appear that these are not always respected. Following the installation of smart water metres, testing has shown that a number of residences are not adhering to the 50 litres per person per day limit. The overuse of water by individuals is a threat to all.
It is imperative that everyone in the town, including students, should reduce their water usage as far as possible.
Maintenance and repairs at the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works
Currently, the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Plant is undergoing repairs and maintenance. When these repairs are completed, hopefully by 25 March, the plant will be able to produce the 10 Megalitres per day needed to meet water supply needs. Once 10 Megalitres per day is reached, the water situation will be alleviated. Amatole Water is working with the Municipality to effect repairs and maintenance as soon as possible.
25 litres per person per day limit for the next week
The problems identified above mean that, for the next week, the allocation of water per person per day will have to be reduced to 25 litres. This restriction applies to everyone in Grahamstown and not only students.
Solutions for residences
For the next week, all students living in residences are asked to make use of rainwater and borehole water for personal hygiene. Water from the rainwater tanks and boreholes can be carried into bathrooms for washing purposes. Potable water provided in the marked tanks is to be used for drinking and cooking purposes only. Grey water is available for flushing lavatories.
The Rhodes University community is reminded that it is not “business as usual”. We are in the throes of a significant water crisis and only if everyone does their part, will we overcome this. The good news is that money and resources that are allocated to the improvement of city’s infrastructure will ensure that we will shortly have one of the most stable water systems in the country.
Thank you for working through these difficult times with us. We appreciate all of the assistance that has been offered to us thus far. Please keep the conversation about #SaveOurWater going at firstname.lastname@example.org.