In one of her updates last Friday, Overstrand Executive Mayor, Dr Annelie Rabie, indicated that it would take approximately three weeks to normalise the Municipality’s operations after the heavy rains experienced over the preceding long weekend.
As week one ends today, herewith an update on what has transpired.
At present, the Hemel-en-Aarde road (R320) is still closed as some areas of the road has been completely washed away and is considered dangerous for traffic.
The Provincial Roads Department has completed their assessment and it is trusted that they should soon be in a position to take a final decision on whether the road will remain closed.
Work has already started on the R43 at the Kleinmond intersection. For now, the road is open with stop-and-go’s on either side of the damaged section.
In terms of the maintenance of the Karwyderskraal roads, it is the responsibility of the Overberg District Municipality and we have engaged with them.
R44 Clarence Drive will also remain closed. This is also a Provincial road and for now, there is no update on when it will be repaired.
At present, there are no challenges experienced with refuse removal.
However, there are some backlogs with withdrawal of sewer conservancy tanks in the Kleinmond area.
This is a common occurrence after heavy rains and it is suspected that these tanks are not watertight, thus allowing ground water to seep into them.
This puts more strain on an already constrained resource and resident are urged to ensure that their tanks are watertight.
We are working on the backlog with additional tankers from a private contractor and from the Gansbaai Administration. However, due to the large backlog, residents are urged to be patient as we will get to service all of them.
The Bosplasie sewer pipeline and pumpstation have also been damaged with 500 meters of pipeline being washed away. Four sewer pumpstations in Stanford have also been damaged. Preliminary estimates indicate that the damage is R6 million.
The water situation has improved considerably since last Friday and the output of purified water from the Preekstoel Water Treatment Works is currently at 11 Ml per day.
This is a substantial increase on the 2,5 Ml just a week ago. The target is 12 ML per day. However, supply to the higher lying areas still remains problematic.
Currently water supply to most of the suburbs in the Greater Hermanus has stabilised, except for the area on the mountain side of 7th Street in Voëlklip and some areas in Vermont.
In these cases, we urge residents in the adjacent lower lying areas to constrain water use so that the networks and reservoirs in the upper areas can fill up and stabilise. We have increased the number of hours to pump water to Voëlklip with a further three hours. Use as little as possible so that all of us have a little to sustain ourselves.
The De Bos supply line is holding up well and we will try to push the supply from the current 100 litres per second to 120 l/s from next week. This supply is augmented with supply from the Gateway and Hemel-en-Aarde wellfields.
Currently our consulting engineers are working on different options for the permanent repair of the De Bos supply line and once this is done and costed, Council will be able to take an informed decision.
There have also been a number of enquiries about the use of the dysfunctional three dams in Fernkloof. One of these dams cannot be used as it is cracked and the other two are filled with raw water used for irrigation at the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and the Hermanus Golf Club. The pipes from these dams have also been washed away. For these reasons, water from the dams cannot be used for human consumption.
As more rain is expected for this weekend, work on the potholes is delayed until next week as it is pointless to repair potholes in the rain.
CURRENT KNOWN COST OF EMERGENCY WORK DONE
The current costs for emergency work done is R1,8 million. This includes the hiring of equipment and plant to fix access roads, the cost of the water provided as well as the JoJo tanks, blocks and clearing of stormwater channels and the rivers. It excludes salaries, overtime, transport, fuel, and chemicals which will add up to a considerable amount as we were working non-stop since Sunday, 24 September 2023.
As costs become available, we will do further updates.
It seems as if costs will be significant, and it is expected that Council will have to consider an adjustments budget in November 2023.
This does not include the damage to the environment and infrastructure in the nature reserves and beach paths, which is also considerable and might impact on the tourism offerings.
In conclusion, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to mitigating the effects of these heavy rains, it was a team effort of note.
We are not out of the woods yet, so please use water sparingly as water restrictions are still in place as we want to return to some normalcy in terms of water supply before the schools open next week.