The area along Stubbs Street in Louis Trichardt resembled a flood zone last Thursday after a burst in the town’s main water-supply line, which occurred during excavations in Extension 9 to establish service infrastructure.
Date: 05 May 2022 By: Andries van Zyl
Residents of Louis Trichardt and surrounds experienced another week of dry taps as pipe burst after pipe burst continued to plague the Vhembe District Municipality (VDM), and Eskom’s announcement on Tuesday to implement Stage-2 load shedding for the rest of the week will surely contribute to the town’s dire water situation.
Social media lit up with pictures and videos of the massive mainline waterpipe burst opposite Thompson’s Motors and the N1 in Louis Trichardt last Thursday afternoon. The pipe burst occurred during excavations for the establishment of service infrastructure for a new residential area north of Stubbs Street in Extension 9, a development marred by controversy and secrecy since excavations started about two months ago.
Millions of litres of drinking water went to waste because of the pipe burst, and the area along Stubbs Street resembled a flood zone. Several hours passed, until valves were finally closed to allow officials from the VDM to assess the situation. Initial indications were that contractors would be able to repair the damaged pipeline and restore the water supply to Louis Trichardt within 24 hours.
On Friday, 29 April, the VDM issued a statement regarding the burst pipeline, merely stating that a contractor had been appointed to fix the problem and apologising for any inconvenience caused. No indication was given as to how long the work to repair the pipeline would take.
The town’s taps, however, remained dry for the duration of the weekend and queues started forming once again at the AfriForum communal borehole in President Steyn Street as the water situation became critical for many.
On Sunday morning, 1 May, the VDM released another statement, informing residents that another pipe burst at booster pump number 3 would continue to result in water shortages in Louis Trichardt and Tshikota.
“The contractor and Vhembe District technicians are busy fixing the burst pipelines at Extension 9 along N1 road and the burst pipeline at the booster pump station 03. We apologise for the inconvenience caused,” the VDM’s statement read.
By Tuesday morning, the town’s taps were still dry. The VDM was asked to give feedback on the situation and to explain the delay in restoring the town’s water supply.
In response, VDM spokesperson Mr Moses Shibambu said that both the mainline pipe burst in Extension 9, as well as at booster station number 3 had been fixed, but that the mainline fixed in Extension 9 had burst again. At that stage, Shibambu said, VDM technicians had closed the Mowkop Reservoir in Louis Trichardt to repair the burst pipe, but that they would continue to pump water directly into the supply pipeline to try and alleviate the water crisis. A couple of hours later, Shibambu confirmed that the burst pipe had been fixed again and that the VDM had started pumping water again.
By Wednesday morning, residents from some parts in Louis Trichardt reported that water supply to their homes had been restored. Others, however, reported that their taps remained dry, not allowing them to wash, do laundry or flush their toilets. Why some parts of town have water and others do not remains unclear. What is clear is that residents should stock up on their water supply, following Eskom’s announcement on Tuesday that they had implemented Stage-2 load shedding. This will again cause interruptions in VDM’s water-pumping schedule, which has proven to cause water shortages in the past.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.