Water Restrictions And Safe Drinking Water

Dear Members,

Everybody is talking about water restrictions and the safety of our drinking water, so we would like to update you on Bitou’s current situation.

  • A new diesel engine to power the generator at the Keurbooms River extraction point (near Uplands) will be installed soon.   The generator is needed during load shedding to power the pump which withdraws water from the river and transports it to the water treatment plant.  All of Plett’s water is drawn from the river, unless the river flow drops too low, in which case water is drawn from the Roodefontein Dam.  All water then goes through the water treatment plant.
  • Several new generators will soon be installed at various pump stations around Bitou to allow pumping during load shedding.  The key question to the municipality is how they will be protected from theft and vandalism.
  • The desalination plant’s abstraction pumps will be replaced soon so it will be operational again after almost a year.  The desal plant can provide on average 15% of Plett’s water requirements.
  • Of the ten boreholes which have been equipped for use, seven have been vandalized and stripped of all equipment. Two at the Plett Country Club will be put into commission soon. These will feed into the Roodefontein dam. The remaining boreholes in Kwano are unlikely to be recommissioned due to water quality and inability to secure them.  The municipality is looking at new boreholes as a backup source.
  • Bitou suffers from very high water losses, ca. 38%. The municipality is repairing some of the old major leaks on the water mains on Signal Hill and the bridge below, and discovered a significant leak on the Keurbooms-Water Treatment pipeline.  Some of the repairs are awaiting the new budget before commencing work.
  • A new clearwater pump station at the treatment works to improve flows to high level reservoirs at Kwano and Brakkloof is underway.
  • PWC has been hired to investigate the tariff structure (water/electricity).
  • The Roodefontein dam is up to 81,4% due to good rains in the catchment area. This puts it above the trigger point for drought restrictions, however Bitou is retaining the level 2 restrictions for precautionary reasons.
  • Bitou continues to follow a rigorous programme of testing water quality and its quality is within required standards.

Kind regards,
Steve Pattinson, Chairman
Peter Pyke, Water Portfolio Manager