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Alderman Leon Van Wyk, Executive Mayor of George Municipality

In recent weeks the Western Cape has experienced a period of unusual weather events with heavy rainfall causing substantial damage to infrastructure, agricultural crops and other assets particularly across the Overberg region.

In Overstrand, damage to their main water pipelines resulted in no piped water being available for almost a week.

We were requested to provide assistance by making available our large 35000 litre fire tanker and a second tanker to the Hermanus community to transport water to certain areas to fill water tanks that the municipality had to urgently acquire and to assist the local Medi-Clinic hospital. Our deployed teams proudly undertook these tasks working non-stop with very little sleep. We extend our thanks to them for their dedication to serve George and the communities in need.

In the meantime, in George, we have experienced a spate of water pipeline bursts in recent weeks after being fortunate to have a period with relatively few breaks.

It is useful to occasionally reflect on the extent of George. Our tarred road network is 450km with a further 100km of gravel roads and almost 1000km of pipelines for each of the water and sewer networks. To put this in perspective, the operational extent of George is equivalent to roughly the road distance between Plettenberg Bay and Cape Town with water and sewer pipelines on both sides of the road.

On a network of this size, there are pipe breakages and sewer blockages that occur in the respective networks on a daily basis. Over the past two years, increasing efforts have taken place to create zones across the municipality to manage the water network through the inclusion of meters and valves to improve the management of the water network. This process has already yielded positive results. The nature of such a network is that there are different sizes of pipelines, connections and fittings that have been constructed over decades as George has grown.

During a recent pipe burst it was discovered that the breakage occurred on a non-standard size pipe diameter that differed by a few millimeters from the available replacement and fittings. Modifications were needed which then delayed the repair.

The wet weather often delays the repairs that are being undertaken. Potholes on roads materialise during wet weather and can only be effectively repaired during dry and warm weather conditions.

Our electricity repair teams are being kept busy due to the damage to infrastructure that results from loadshedding and the overload of networks when power is being restored.

In closing, we thank all our repair, standby and other municipal teams for regularly being prepared to work long hours as they strive to maintain a high level of services across George.