Kriel water supply restored ahead of schedule

Pretoria: The water supply to Kriel in Emalahleni Local Municipality was successfully restored on Friday well ahead of the scheduled date, says the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS).

The outage was planned to end on 9 March 2015.

Kriel experienced a water outage due to the Eskom construction of a railway line from Ermelo to Majuba Power Station.

The railway line crosses the Department of Water and Sanitation’s pipeline between Rietspruit reservoir and Davel.

Eskom therefore requested a related DWS outage to tie in with the permanent deviation of the pipeline to the existing structure, as per DWS approved design.

“This also provided DWS with an opportunity to do maintenance work and repair leaks and replace valves on the pipeline,” said the department’s spokesperson, Sputnik Ratau, on Saturday.

Ratau said as the DWS is mandated to ensure security of water supply for all facets of the lives and livelihoods of South Africans. Part of this mandate includes regular maintenance of its infrastructure throughout the country.

Regular scheduled and planned maintenance, Ratau said, is crucial to ensure an increased lifespan, as well as reliable and effective performance of water infrastructure.

“Infrastructure maintenance is therefore important to ensure sustainable water supply for current and future generations. Planned infrastructure maintenance is important and ensures that communities experience minimal disruptions as they are consulted and engaged throughout the process and alternative supply is provided,” said Ratau.

During the course of this outage, the community of Kriel was supplied with water through 31 strategically placed Jojo tanks, which were regularly supplied by 15 water tankers.

As a result of prior consultation with the municipalities and communities, Ratau said all water users were timeously informed of the complete plans of the department. As such, no undue ill-feelings and lack of communication were experienced throughout the period of the outage.

The department, he said, continues to take vital lessons from these experiences that proper planning and execution, along with community consultation, cannot be underestimated.

“This experience will remain part of the department’s standing operations as further planned and needed outages on other pipelines continue to be rolled out,” said Ratau.