The prolonged high stages of Eskom load shedding that we are currently experiencing has a major effect on our water and sanitation service operations.
Drinking water quality is not currently an issue. Overstrand’s tap water in all the towns is safe to drink.
Generators at critical pump stations have helped the Overstrand Municipality to deal with power outages, but they cannot supply electricity to all pumpstations, with the result that the Municipality has experienced sewage spillages related to load shedding.
Only 15 of the 51 sewerage pump stations are fitted with on-site generators and can stay operational during load shedding. These stations will only overflow in the event of an unforeseen breakage and early warning alarm not received.
The pumpstations may also be affected by storm water ingress into the network during heavy rains.
The other 36 sewerage pump stations do not have standby generators and during extended loadshedding events some of the pump stations may overflow into the sea.
However, some of these sewerage pump stations have a low inflow and therefore sufficient sump capacity exists to prevent a spillage during load shedding.
Overstrand Municipality recently received a grant of R6.7million from the Western Cape Government to procure back-up generators to keep nine additional water and wastewater facilities running during load shedding.
Every effort is being made to ensure that the project is completed by the end of June. The current high demand for generators in the country is however challenging.
Overstrand Municipality also advised residents that the water supply especially in high lying areas could be compromised and even interrupted due to load shedding.
Once again, residents are urged to use water sparingly, as this will assist in firstly conserving reservoir levels and secondly reducing wastewater flows and alleviating pressure on sewerage pump stations. The municipality is doing its utmost to manage the situation within its capacity and available resources.
The Municipality has implemented the following mitigation measures at this stage:
- The most critical water and wastewater installations are equipped with standby generators, which are supplied with diesel continuously and are being monitored to ensure seamless switchovers as far as possible.
- Mobile generators are deployed at a few other sensitive water and wastewater installations.
- Suction tankers are deployed at some sewerage pump stations in environmentally sensitive areas that are not equipped with generators yet.
- Water and wastewater pump operations are maximized during periods between load shedding events.