Knysna Municipality’s Technical Services reported to the S80 Governance Committee that, during the holiday season:
“The department repaired 287 leaks and unblocked 187 sewers. These caused sporadic incidences of brown water, low water pressure and sewage spillages in the Knysna area.
1. The major irritation was the brown water incidence on 22 December when a main raw water feed to the water works was interrupted by a pipe break combined with a high water demand caused some reservoirs to run low. We lost 1.5 days pumping from the Knysna River, which (in turn) added pressure to the storage dam.
2. The Gouna system… was plagued with breaks and pump failures… the department lost 5 days in pumping from the source which, again, added pressure to existing storage… [Problems at] the water treatment works lead to downtime of more than a day.
3. Water reticulation system – Replaced 12 pumps and repaired 7 pumps, which was challenging as suppliers and contractors were closed down for the holiday.
4. Sewer articulation – repaired 6 pumps and replaced 2 rotary assemblies. The main sewer pump station had to be cleaned twice as the silt in the station cause pump trips.”
When identifying problems faced by the Department, it was said that departing employees had cost them over 200 years worth of skills. It was also stated that nearby municipalities, including the smaller Bitou, pay staff better. Impractically, Knysna has only 1 fitter/turner and 7 plumbers for 900km of pipes and 55 pumps.
Department moral is low.
“With the staff, at the moment, we’re doing miracles,” said Technical Services Manager, Rhoydon Parry.
View this interesting breakdown of Knysna infrastructure (sewerage piping, water piping, electrical lines etc.).