Department moves to resolve Queenstown water woes

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The Department of Water and Sanitation has procured the services of a diver in an effort to resolve technical issues restricting water flow at the Waterdown Dam in Queenstown in the Eastern Cape.

In a statement, the department said due to the difficulties experienced around Queenstown and surrounding areas, dam levels had now reached 29% of capacity.

“The levels dropped below the levels of the valves normally utilised to supply water to the area. As such, the DWS attempted to utilise the valves further below, at about 20 metres lower, than the ones usually used,” the department said.

Due to long periods of inactivity, the DWS technicians found these valves to be stuck and non-responsive.

The department said a diver will go about 20 metres into the dam to release the valve. This will allow for the right pressure to release water to Queenstown.

“The misfortune is that at that attempt, the team working on the valve noticed some oil contamination and abandoned the release so as not to contaminate the resource and risk affecting the quality of water to the town,” the department said.

The DWS has also procured the services of another team to go even further than the 20 metre depth in order to release the third valve.

“All of this procurement of services is made in order to secure water flows to the town and is being done within the prescripts of the DWS Supply Chain Management. The PFMA cannot be flouted,” read the statement.

The DWS team from Construction Unit Southern Cluster will be on site today, together with the team of divers and the Chris Hani District Municipality will be kept abreast of developments.

The department said it was hopeful that Xonxa Dam Bulk Water Supply Project will be ready for commissioning on 23 September and further bring stability of supply. It is also being investigated whether this commissioning can be fast-tracked considering the low levels of Waterdown Dam.

The department said the South African Constitution, the National Water Act and the Water Services Act, it is enjoined to ensure the security of water supply to all South Africans, domestic, industrial, agricultural, mining, and all other sectors and facets of the South African populace. –