Residents of Polokwane in Limpopo have been without running water for over three weeks now. The water shortage has affected several businesses in the Seshego, Bendor and Flora Park areas. The municipality is blaming the non-maintenance of infrastructure at the water utility, Lepelle Northern Water.
Non-maintenance of infrastructure and breakdowns at Olifantpoort and Ebenezer water plants have been cited as the main causes of water shortage in Polokwane.
The two plants that are overseen by the water utility, Lepelle Northern Water have experienced maintenance challenges for several years.
These challenges have left residents of Seshego, Flora Park and Bendor without water for three weeks. The municipality has been promising to resolve the challenge but the crisis is continuing.
Residents and local businesses are negatively impacted.
“It is greatly affecting our business, our in-lab machines consume a ton of water every day, we have to change, our lab have to change water because we can’t use a water we used yesterday and we can do that and it’s bad for business,” a Residents says.
“I have this little for cooking and then now I must go get water somewhere to bath,” another Resident said.
The Lepelle Northern Water Board says it needs an additional budget to repair the ageing infrastructure at its water plants.
“The upgrade for the whole of Polokwane, it will take six years programme to make sure there is a complete water supply in the city, it will costs R18 billion and that will be completed in 2026,” says Dr Cornelius Ruiters, Lepelle Northern Water CEO.
Meanwhile, Polokwane municipality has promised residents that they will have water this weekend.
“Initially, we thought we would have resolved this issue by today, unfortunately, the two pumps that we as the replacement were not able to fit in they had to be returned back so we are hoping that they will be installed and our people will receive water by Saturday,” says Polokwane mayor John Mphe.
Lepelle Northern Water says it will take them 6-years to replace ageing infrastructure to ensure a sustainable water supply in and around Polokwane.