No pressure — Onverwacht’s stewing water problem

The Palala Fresh Water Pump Station seems to be easily accessible by anyone. This is supposed to be the source of water for a large portion of Onverwacht. Unfortunately the pumps have allegedly been inadequately maintained. Residents are desperate and furious due to the lacking water pressure – thus, no water

LEPHALALE — Residents of especially Onverwacht have been battling with water pressure problems from early October. On a WhatsApp group called “Water en Ligte Krisis”, there are daily complaints regarding areas with little or no water due to poor water pressure.
  The complaints from irate residents vary from no water, to burst pipes, to little water and then back to no water.
Residents from the following streets, amongst others, are affected by the low water pressure: Shaft, Stamvrug, Lente, Sekelbos, Krulblaar, Impala, Kameeldoring, Essenhout, Boekenhout, Diepkuil, Pheasant, Wildebees, Waterbok, Waaisand, Skurwerand, Bospatrys, Springbok, Gruisweg, Maroelasingel and Waterbessie.
In spite of various attempts by role players, the problem is not being resolved.
In the meantime, Deon van Vuuren was given as the contact person with regards to the water pressure as he is involved in the electricity department at the Lephalale Municipality.
The information allegedly supplied by him is that the switch gear (VSD) for the pumps must be ordered from overseas and they are only expected to be received in the middle of November. (If the switch gear is not working, the pump cannot be switched on to increase the water pressure).
By the 18th October there were assurances that the engineers were doing their best to resolve the problem.
Mogol Post contacted Deon van Vuuren from the electrical division of the Municipality on Friday 27 October for clarity regarding the parts that have been ordered from overseas and why they were not making use of locally made parts? He explained that he may not speak to the media.
Mogol Post made enquiries at the Lephalale Municipality regarding the state of affairs:
Mogol Post: What spares are required to get Palala Fresh Water Pump Station in working order?
Lephalale Municipality: During the 2011/2012 financial year, the Municipality through the Limpopo Department of Cooperative Governance, Housing and Traditional Affairs (CoGHSTA) support, upgraded the bulk water supply line from Zeeland to Town and Onverwacht, which included upgrading the pump stations at both Palala and Rupert Reservoir Sites. Pumps are mechanical components which are propelled by Variable Speed Drives and the one at Palala Reservoir has seized hence the drop in water pressure in Onverwacht.
The Municipality is currently finalising the process of acquiring the requisite device to address the situation.
MP: Why do we have to import the spares?
LM: The manufacturing company of the Variable Speed Drive (VSD) is in Germany and has two agents in South Africa situated in Pretoria and Phalaborwa, therefore the Municipality utilizes the services of the agents to acquire the VSD.
The question remains – is it necessary to use parts that have to be ordered from Germany or elsewhere overseas? Why doesn’t the municipality support local suppliers?
Mogol Post spoke to various experts about this ridiculous situation and they all agreed that it is not necessary to use parts that have to be ordered from overseas.
According to Gys Grieshaber from Just Property, they experience problems from companies who rent from them because some workers arrive late at work due to a lack of water. Various tenants have given their notices to move out of the properties due to these problems. Just Property installed pressure pumps and reservoirs at their own cost to assist the situation, however it is still inadequate. At least seven geysers have been replaced by them due to damage caused by the geysers running dry. Carli Smook from Maintenance and Repairs at Just Property confirmed that she booked 22 queries regarding this matter at the Municipality in the last two weeks.

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