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Mar 19, 2004

Alien plants are being cleared in Elandsfontein and Mogale

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© Reuse this Bulk water supplier to Gauteng Rand Water reports that its alien-vegetation-eradication project is on schedule and meeting its objectives.

The alien-vegetation-eradication project aims to destroy seedlings and coppices of bluegum and wattle trees that consume large volumes of water around the water-catchment areas.

Moreover, it intends to protect and restore biological diversity by reducing competition by invading alien plants; enhance water security through regaining control over these plants; improve the ecological integrity of the natural systems; and develop and improve social and economic benefits through training and employing local community members on the project.

“The alien-vegetation-eradication project is currently under way in Elandsfontein and Mogale, in Krugersdorp, Gauteng.

“Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture is identifying additional areas where the project is to be rolled out.

“However, there remains a large amount of land to be covered in the existing areas,” monitoring and evaluation manager Mike Tyler tells Engineering News. He adds that 1 700 people have been employed on the project since its inception in 1998, with 102 people currently working on the project.

Another ongoing project at Rand Water is the informal-settlement-encroachment project.

This project involves relocating informal-settlement communities that are based on top of the company’s water pipelines with immediate effect.

“The encroachment project involves an 18 000 km2 area, extending throughout Mpumamlanga, the Free State, North West Province and Pretoria.

“The problem arose in 1996, when Gauteng had an informal-settlement population of two-million people, many of whom built their homes on the company’s water pipelines.

“The result was the inability to operate, maintain and patrol the pipelines, such that leaks could be repaired and meters read,” says community relations manager Enos Ngobe.

He adds that water pipelines have to be checked regularly, with the company’s policy to check them two to four times a month.

To date, the project has been rolled out in Lerato, near Roodepoort, in Gauteng, and Soweto, in Gauteng, where the informal settlements are scheduled to be relocated elsewhere in the not-too-distant future.

Moreover, the company has been collaborating with a number of stakeholders such as Telkom, Eskom, Petronet, Sasol Gas, Spoornet and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation that have had problems with their pipelines and cables in those areas. These companies are jointly attempting to host a summit where they will be able to create laws of servitude.

Ngobe is confident that the summit will take place later this year.

Rand Water, in partnership with the Department of Public Works, is also involved in a leaks-repair project, in which it plans to repair and replace leaking consumer water installations, and retrofit houses with dual-flush cisterns as a further means to reduce water consumption in certain areas.

Moreover, locals from the areas are employed on a contract basis to fill various positions on the project, reducing costs and empowering communities by providing job opportunities and facilitating skills development.

This project was scheduled to be rolled out in Tshwane, in Gauteng, this month.

To date, the company has been involved in several leak projects in Gauteng, including at Sebokeng, Thembisa, Daveyton, Odi, and Kagiso schools.

Rand Water is also involved in the Bushbuckridge infrastructure project, in which its community-based-projects department has been acting as the implementing agent to the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the execution of four infrastructure projects in the Bushbuckridge areas of Marite, Dwarsloop, Acornhoek and Zoeknog.

The project entails the provision of bulk-water infrastructure though the application of reconstruction and development programme principles.

These include labour-intensive construction, contractor development and community involvement and capa-citation.

“Moreover, this project involves two phases: the institutional and reticulation phases.

“Phase one of the Marite, Dwarsloop and Acornhoek projects was completed in 1997, while phase two of the projects and the Zoeknog project are currently under way.

“Completion is scheduled next month,” says Ngobe.

Tyler adds that Rand Water also completed the Winterveldt water-supply project last year.

The main objective of the project was to provide the minimum standard of water supply, 25 l/d for each person, to the Winterveldt population as prescribed by the reconstruction and development programme.

The project aimed to create employment opportunities for local community members through training and development of local contractors and artisans.

“People in Winterveldt are now collecting water from taps, rather than boreholes and streams,” says Tyler.

He adds that the project was implemented due to the contaminated water in the boreholes and streams containing waterborne diseases such as cholera.

According to Tyler, South Africa’s main challenge is rainfall.
Edited by: zeena isaacs
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