Oudtshoorn, 12 August 2019 – Following the unfortunate incident on Friday, 9 August 2019 with the overflowing of the Old East Reservoir below the prison, Oudtshoorn Municipality would like to give the following background on the water supply system:
“Oudtshoorn has five (5) reservoirs, with a total storage capacity of 57.6 Ml. The reservoirs are fed under gravity by two pipelines from the Raubenheimer dam. Our water is chlorinated just below the Raubenheimer dam. The reservoirs are thus fed with already chlorinated water,” said Chris Swart, a Senior Manager for Water and Sewer in the Greater Oudtshoorn.
“The levels of the reservoirs are controlled by automatic control valves,” Swart explained. “The aim is to keep the reservoirs as close to full as possible so that we have stored water available for a few days should the flow from the dam be interrupted. The moment the level of a reservoir drops below a certain point, the control valve opens and water is fed into the reservoir until full when the valve closes again. This is very similar to the cistern in a toilet which is kept full by a ball-valve.”
He said the control valves currently in use has been in operation for a number of years and are in a good condition. They are checked regularly and malfunctions seldom occur, but is not impossible.
“On Friday morning the control valve at the Old East reservoir did not close at the correct level, causing the reservoir to overflow. There are currently no alarm system in place to give warning of such an event and only after it was discovered that the reservoir was overflowing, steps could be taken to reset the valve and rectify the situation,” he added.
“The overflow on Friday was not caused by the fact that Old East Reservoir is leaking above a certain level. A crack was identified in one of the walls of the reservoir a while ago and if the water level rises above a certain level, water is lost through the crack. To minimize the losses, this reservoir is operated at a level below the crack level. Funds have been made available in the 2019/20 budget to repair the walls of the Old East Reservoir. During the last few months, inspections of the reservoir was carried out and method statements for repairs suggested by concrete experts. Tenders are in the process of being called for to appoint a contractor to do the necessary repairs.”
As part of the Water Management Plan, new bulk water meters as well as a telemetry system will also be installed in this financial year. This will assist the Municipality to monitor the reservoir levels more efficiently and also act as a warning system to prevent incidences like the one that occurred on Friday.
In conclusion, Swart said that the members of the public are more than welcome to make contact with the Technical Department should they have any questions or would like to get more information regarding technical side of the supply of services to Oudtshoorn. The Technical department can be reached on telephone number 044 272 4634.