Plett Water Matters

Dear Members,

Polluted water is a hot topic in SA at present, and it is something we are also concerned about in our town.  We received an enquiry from one of our members expressing concern as to whether we could be facing problems similar to those currently being experienced in KZN, and we thought that it would be of interest to share our reply with everybody.  The RA committee member, Bill Alexander, is eminently qualified to give his opinion on this subject because of his wide experience in sanitary engineering.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your email to the Plett Ratepayers expressing your concern about the future safety of Plett’s water supply.

Firstly, it must be stated that the current situation in Durban is very different from ours in that they have had the major disruptions of the riots and then the floods which have in many instances destroyed their water and sewerage infrastructure.

The Plett Ratepayers Association shares your concern about the influx of people into the town and how we are going to deal with them.  However we must point out that the water supply is relatively safe from pollution at this stage.  If you look at the map in this link you will see the following:

  1. Only a small area of Kwano drains into the Roodefontein Dam which is one of the main sources of Bitou’s drinking water.  Apart from this its catchment is relatively free of human habitation.
  2. The other main source is the weir in the Keurbooms river which is well upstream of any significant potential pollution.
  3. Boreholes and the desalination plant are also low risk sources.

As a result of the above, the big concern is not the quality of the water, but rather whether we have sufficient resources to meet the growing demand which is another debate altogether.

You will see from the map that most of Bitou’s human settlements drain into the Bitou, Piesangs and Keurbooms (below the extraction point) rivers so the major risk that we perceive from runoff sewage is contamination of the estuaries rather than the drinking water sources which remain relatively pristine.

The ProAction committee of the Association is currently conducting a study into the potable water supply and sewerage collection and treatment infrastructure in the light of the rapid population growth that you highlight, but we are being severely hampered by a lack of cooperation from the Municipal officials who are refusing to supply us with the information we need to conduct our study. So far we have been unable to establish what future measures Bitou contemplates to address water and sanitation augmentation to meet rising demand.  It is hard to understand why we should be meeting this resistance as we are offering an expert service free of charge to the Municipality, but we are engaging with the Mayor and Municipal Manager to try and resolve the situation.

Bill Alexander               

Alexander Process Consulting

Sent: 22 August 2022 12:40 PM
Subject: FLOOD AFTERMATH: Durban mother dead, scores sick with diarrhoea as polluted tap water confirmed


Dear Dave, Peter

It is probably already of great concern to your respective teams that our sewerage infrastructure was not designed to cope with the current huge influx of permanent residents in the Plett area.

Whilst the report by Bill Alexander at the beginning of the year was of some re-assurance regarding the then current situation, are there any plans within the municipality for upgrades to the sewerage infrastructure to address, as a matter of urgency,  this potential problem?

Whilst our Water Department seems to have its finger on the pulse of clean water, which we really appreciate, that too could come under pressure with growing demand, particularly with the unnecessary luxury of domestic sprinkler systems.

It would be good if the residents could be kept up to date with the current capability of the systems, and any plans that are in place.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work!


(Plett Ratepayers’ member)