Faulty pump derails water supply in South African municipality


South Africa’s Eastern Cape Water Project,  has for the past six months failed to supply water due to a faulty pump. The US $5.7m project, completed in 2016, was meant to supply water for 10 villages in Ward 4 of Intsika Yethu Local Municipality.

According to Tobeka Mqamelo, spokesperson for Chris Hani District Municipality, the faulty pump is hindering the supply of water to the villages from the water scheme. He however was quick to add that the necessary procurement processes are currently being undertaken to acquire the necessary parts.

Mr. Mqamelo reiterated that a faulty borehole pump was the cause, rebuffing the notion that the problem was caused by insufficiency of water in the borehole. He said that they are currently using water tankers to deliver water to the community while awaiting delivery and repair to the pump.

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Meanwhile, the villagers continue to suffer for lack of water. The little that is being delivered is certainly not enough, forcing the village residents to wake up early in the morning to try and beat the morning river rush of people. Unfortunately, even then the water is not guaranteed as they not only have to compete amongst themselves, but with domestic animals as well.

Some community members have denied the spokesperson’s statement about the municipality using water tankers to deliver water, saying that the municipal water truck only supplied water in December 2017 while others are decrying the present situation, citing a windmill that previously aided in water supply in the village.

Municipalities should embrace routine maintenance as a measure of extending the lifespan of water pumps. The routine maintenance should address the issues that are hindering maximum pump operating life. Such should include; fit and alignment of line shaft and pump bowl bearings, replacement bearings to the proper shaft clearances and Common Repairs.

For more on solutions; read: How to maintain vertical turbine pumps