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Update on Raw Water supply pipeline repairs

Issued George Municipality, 21 February 2022

Background information:
There are two raw water supply pipelines that provide the raw water supply from the Garden Route Dam to the balancing dams. One is a Glass Reinforced Polymer (GRP), and the other is Asbestos Cement (AC). The raw water balancing dams in turn supply raw water to the Water Treatment Works for purification.

The existing 600mm diameter asbestos supply pipeline was damaged during the flash floods in November 2021 and was scheduled for remedial work after the peak season. On Friday 4 February a gasket on the GRP line failed on one of the isolating valves inside a raw water supply chamber located just below the Garden Route Dam wall. The chamber had moved or shifted, and this caused the gasket failure.

Temporary Fix
A temporary repair was undertaken to the failed gasket and a replacement valve was ordered. The lead time on the valve supply is between four to six weeks. This failure of the GRP pipeline necessitated the remedial works to be done on the AC pipeline located in the Kat River so that we can switch over to the AC line in order to complete the one-day repair required for replacing the gasket – and to allow for continuous raw water supply to the balancing dams.

The Kat River site was difficult to access and very wet. In order to successfully complete the work on the AC line and dewater the site, a scour line had to be opened just above the Garden Route Dam spillway as there are no isolating valves on the raw water supply lines. This is not a leak or burst pipe, or waterfall as referred to by several members of the public on social media. The Asbestos Cement pipeline repair work requires special materials and there is a lead time on the manufacturing of the material required to address the problem.

Current Repair Status
Kat River Asbestos Pipe:  The repair work is currently underway and the Civil Engineering Services Directorate are aiming to have the works concluded by Friday 25 February 2022.
Garden Route Dam Gasket:  The materials for the repair work have been ordered.  The remedial works will be concluded at the end of March 2022.

Water Restrictions
Water Restrictions were implemented on 25 January this year to restrict the excessive use of drinking water which currently exists in George as the water treatment works cannot meet the current potable water demand and cannot ensure adequate reservoir storage volumes to meet the emergency storage volumes required. As reported the average daily demand had from January 2021 increased incrementally to an average of 38-39 Megalitres (Ml) per day , with peak days reaching even 40Ml/day. The production capacity of the Old and New Water Treatment Works is a combined volume of 38Ml per day. 

The immediate measures to be adhered to are as follows:

  • The mechanical or automatic irrigation/watering devices or sprinkler systems for gardens is prohibited.

Gardens may be watered with a handheld hose from 01 September to 30 May ( we are currently within this period), i.e.  between 19:00 to 21:00
Gardens may be watered with a handheld hose from 01 June to 31 August during the following period only, i.e.  between 17:00 to 19:00:

Mondays and Thursdays for even-numbered households ONLY
Tuesdays and Fridays for uneven numbered households ONLY.

  • The irrigation or watering of all sports fields is prohibited.  Exemption from restrictions in the following instances only: golf course greens, bowling greens, and cricket pitches which may only be watered between 19:00 and 21:00.
  • The washing of vehicles with a garden hose is prohibited, except by a commercial enterprise whose business it is to wash cars.
  • The cleaning of ANY area by mechanical means or hosepipe using water is prohibited; The use of a bucket is however permitted.
  • The filling of swimming pools is prohibited.
  • Where own water from a borehole or reservoir is used, the appropriate notice shall be displayed on the premises, e.g. “OWN WATER”.

Contraventions of the Water Restrictions can be reported on 0800 424477 and will be followed up by George Municipal Law Enforcement.
Any person who contravenes these restrictions is guilty of an offence and is, upon conviction, liable to a fine as published in the annual tariffs list, or six months imprisonment.

In terms of Section 5 of the By-law, any person may apply in writing for the exemption from the provision of any notice published in terms of the By-law, and the Council may grant an exemption and impose conditions in respect of such an application.  The Policy grants permission to the Directorate Civil Engineering Services to approve applications for exemptions.

Application forms for an exemption can be obtained from the office of the Directorate: Civil Engineering Services, Old Town Hall, on the corner of Market and York Streets. Alternatively, applicants can contact Ms G van Niekerk on 044 – 801 9354 / to request that a copy of the application form be emailed to them. The Directorate Civil Engineering Services will consider all applications. A written exemption shall be provided where approved.

Report all water leaks to our Civil Engineering Department on 044 801 9262/66 or after hours 044 801 6300.