Premier Zille visits provincial disaster management centre
The Provincial Government has completed the equipping of boreholes in Beaufort West, with supply projects in Kynsna and Kannaland expected to reach completion by the end of January. These municipalities are amongst those with the highest risk of running out of water.
This is according to a briefing to Premier Helen Zille by the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) – the Western Cape Government’s coordinating hub for the overall disaster response. The Premier visited the PDMC this morning at their Tygerberg premises.
“The provincial government is helping municipalities to secure their water supply. All residents are required to save water if we are to avoid the taps running dry”, said Premier Zille.
The national government is constitutionally responsible for major water supply projects. However with limited funds received from national, the Province and Municipalities have redirected budgets to supply interventions. This is made legally possible through the Provincial Disaster Declaration, announced by Premier Zille in May 2017, following the necessary permission from national.
The PDMC update on water supply interventions included the following key information:
- Beaufort West: The Province has completed the equipping of 3 additional boreholes, with 29 others fully functional. There is a funding shortfall from national, which the Gift of the Givers are attempting to alleviate with groundwater projects aimed at adding an additional 1 million litres per day.
- Knynsa: Borehole and abstraction projects are on track, and expected to be completed by end-January 2018.
- Kannaland: Abstraction, borehole and pipe repair projects are due for completion end-January 2018.
- Planning and implementation of various other projects is underway in Bitou, Saldanha Bay, Matzikama, Langeberg and Theewaterskloof
The PDMC also reported that newly-appointed geo-hydrologists and provincial engineers are partnering well with municipalities in all districts.
“Having received a detailed briefing on the operation at the PDMC, I am confident that we have the best people on the job. The work of the PDMC is crucial as it enables us to monitor – in real time – the water situation and augmentation schemes across the province. With this bird’s eye view, we are able to make informed decisions, react to emergencies, and mitigate potential disasters”, said Premier Zille.
Average dam levels across the province are at 34%.
The Western Cape Government has also been working to secure water supply at key hospital and school sites.
Some of the latest projects at hospitals underway include:
- the drilling of a borehole has been completed at Knysna Hospital and the pump testing is underway;
- currently testing borehole water at Beaufort West Hospital;
- clanwilliam and Vredendal will commence shortly;
- drilling and testing at Stellenbosch Hospital has been completed. The hospital is considered secured;
- drilling and testing at the Lentegeur facility has been completed. It is also considered secured;
- the Mowbray Hospital is also now considered secure;
- borehole drilling at Red Cross Children’s Hospital is underway; and
- Further drilling rigs have been lined up at Karl Bremer Hospital and the Green Building in Bellville.
Meanwhile in schools:
- Approximately one third of schools in the province already have an existing borehole. A process is underway to test, potentially treat and reticulate available ground water. This funding is being provided by the Western Cape Education Department (WCED);
- The WCED has also funded installation of water restrictor devices for all schools in Bitou, Knysna, Beaufort West and Kannaland and in the highest water use schools in the Cape Metro. Water use spreadsheets have been issued to all schools to monitor their usage.
- The Department recently joined the #SmartWaterMeterChallenge in partnership with Shoprite, University of Stellenbosch, Pragma, Cape Talk and corporate sponsors. The initiative aims to drive the installation smart water meters in schools, capable of monitoring real-time water usage. The 270 school target has been exceeded, with pledges received for 278 schools to date.
The Province is also saving water in government facilities. An estimated 25 600 litres of water is saved each day using a combination of waterless urinals, flow restrictors, dual flush cisterns and other technology.
Strict water consumption standards will be applied to all new buildings and renovations. This includes water-wise air-cooling systems instead of air-cons, and black water treatment systems where possible. A maintenance team is on high alert to quickly respond to reports of water leaks.
“The PDMC is pulling off a commendable coordination effort. We require the whole-of-society to play its part in saving water,” said Premier Zille.