The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for an urgent intervention to stabilise the escalating water crisis in Victoria West. This comes as the Ubuntu municipality ramps up imposed water restrictions, without any realistic plan as how to mitigate the drought induced water shortages.
As things currently stand, different areas in the town have been allocated water provision for different time periods. This has resulted in residents being without water for up to 18 hours a day, depending on where they reside.
The water situation has progressively worsened from 2017. This past week, even the local school at times found itself with either a weak flow, or no water at all, hampering safe schooling during the pandemic.
While Jo-Jo tanks have apparently been set up to assist residents in the short term, these are proving rather futile. They have been set up in private yards with dogs, deterring people from filling up their containers at the respective water spots. This is clearly an orchestrated manipulation of the water tanks by the municipality and cannot be tolerated at this time.
Meanwhile, in respect of long-term solutions, the municipality has failed to institute effective interventions to secure additional water sources and to address water leaks, that see between 30% and 40% of water wasted each year. Instead, an ill-informed decision was taken to drill 19 boreholes last year. All except two of the boreholes, however, were drilled in waterless locations, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
Meanwhile, the two boreholes from which water is planned to be drawn, have a low capacity, with the water also having very high cyanide levels. The same holes were on the 2017/18 list for the " Development of Boreholes: External Water Supply". WSIG had condoned R4 million for this project, however the contractor had found there would be a R736, 415 shortfall and the project was stopped.
The municipality has not had time to look at more sensible ideas to bring in additional water resources from the current provider of seven boreholes or to explore the availability of water atop an aquiver, that is 10 kilometers closer to Victoria West on private land.
DA Councillor Wilma.Schutz has submitted questions to the municipality relating to information needed to be able to supply water to about 9 000 people. This includes information regarding the newest and largest reservoir in Victoria West, which has not been used since 2015. These questions, however, have not been responded to. It is suspected that the newly acquired telemetry system is not able to adequately monitor water inflows and pressure at certain points, in order to be able to better assess the situation.
I will therefore further refer the matter to the MEC of COGHSTA, Bentley Vass, for him to take up with Water Affairs as a matter of urgency.
All attempts must be made to manage the current water supply and to secure additional available water sources for the people of Victoria West before the town reaches day zero.
Issued by The DA