There have been major concerns relating to the status of the Sarel Hayward Dam and the conditions at the Pump Stations (1 & 2). Our Chair Dawie van Wyk and Stuart Lavender attended an inspection on Thursday 28 April 2022 and compiled the summary below.
Dawie met this morning (29 April 2022) with the Municipal Manager to discuss this urgent matter in person and then the written report was sent on to himself. The Council is therefore now fully aware of their shortcomings and undertaken to take immediate action.
Please see the report summary below:
Sarel Hayward Dam:
Stuart Lavender (a qualified and certified engineer) and I visited the Sarel Hayward Dam (SHD) today the 28th of April 2022. I was devastated to observe that the SHD’s water level has now significantly dropped from the second inlet valve (February 2022) to the third inlet valve. On enquiry why water was being pumped from the SHD instead of from behind the weir as instructed by the Municipal Manager (MM) into the balancing dam or the Nemato Water Treatment Plant I received no answer. When the MM and I last visited the SHD the message given to the Department of Infrastructure representatives was that at all costs the SHD needs to be filled. As can be seen after September 2021 when the rains started the dam progressively filled and then after February 2022 the water was pumped out!
Dedicated Pump and Pipeline:
After the last site visit with the MM it was clearly stated by the MM that we need a dedicated pump and pipeline and the Department of Infrastructure must investigate and report back to him. A few weeks later Seya Shayi (an engineering consultant) for the Department of Infrastructure told me that they had been given the go ahead to purchase and install a dedicated pipeline and pump (40 cub m per hour or 2.8 ML/day) that would pump water 24/7 into the SHD. The pipeline is 99% complete but the pump still needs to be delivered and installed. Delivery time is estimated to be two weeks. I suggest this be urgently expedited.
Pump Station No 1:
When we arrived at Pump Station No 1 no Pumps were running. On enquiry it was established that the newly installed submersible Pump still needed a soft start mechanism to be installed. The second submersible Pump would not start (switch gear electrical problem?). Surface Pump No 1 needs its bearings replaced and Surface Pump No 2 was switched on for us and was operational. It appears that very little preventative maintenance has been done at Pump Station No 1. (I noticed in the 2022/3 budget there is only a maintenance budget, no normal preventative maintenance procedure or budget).
Pump Station No 2:
There are four Pumps in Pump Station No 2. Two were being re-installed after some minor repairs had been completed (glands and non-return valves). One Pump has been sent away for total refurbishment and the third one was operational but not running.
Each Pump Station should have a stand by Pump so that if a Pump fails it can immediately be replaced.
Again although maintenance was being done when we visited Pump Station No 2 the question remains why preventative maintenance is not being practised on an ongoing basis? The split between pumping into the Sarel Hayward Dam and into Port Alfred (Water treatment works and balancing Dam) can vary but is usually set at 20% to SHD and 80% to Port Alfred. This is an area that needs better decision making and discipline from the senior officials in the Department of Infrastructure.
As soon as the Pumps at Pump Stations 1 and 2 have been repaired (estimated to be less than a week) every effort should be made to start pumping water into the SHD, Balancing Dam and into Port Alfred Water Treatment works.
Water’s Meeting Weir:
With the recent rains in Makhanda and a saturated river bed the Kowie River started flowing strongly last week. The weir is overflowing and water is running through the pipes at Penny’s Hoek causeway.
Port Alfred’s Telemetry is basically non-functional. The budget for 2022/23 is only R 250,000.00. This should be increased and a reliable company should be appointed to upgrade the Telemetry and install it on all water pumps, boreholes etc. This will enable more accurate reporting on pumps, motors and boreholes. All items should be numbered and identifiable. This should also be used as a management tool to immediately identify where in the system there are non-functioning infrastructure items.
Water flow Diagrams:
A new updated schematic of Pump Stations 1 & 2 needs to be properly drafted and made available.
An updated schematic of the total of Port Alfred water sources flow diagram must be made available. This should include all the different water sources with their capacities and production volumes listed below:-
- Sarel Hayward Dam
- Four Pumps Stations from SHD to Port Alfred
- Balancing Dam
- Water Treatment Plant (in and out daily)
- Central Belt Boreholes
- Fish Kraals Boreholes
- Mansfield Dam (2 new boreholes)
- Grovehill Farm (5 new boreholes)
- East Beach Dunes (refurbished boreholes)
- Rufanes River
- 2 ML RO Plant
- 1 ML Ro Plant
- 3 ML used water RO Plant
- Various Port Alfred Water Reservoirs
There should be a weekly press release on the state of each of these sources and the volumes being produced. The Ratepayers are running out of patience with the continuous water and sewage problems that are getting more and more frequent. The weir at Waters Meeting is overflowing but the town reservoirs remain at low levels and numerous households are without running water.
Dawie van Wyk
Report dated and submitted on 29 April 2022.