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Ntshingwayo (Chelmsford) Dam plays a critical role in Newcastle KZN’s water supply. But now, with the dry winter months ahead and prior knowledge of the problem, are the responsible parties taking maintenance seriously?
On 20 January 2022, the Newcastillian – Online News reported that one of the dam’s sluice gates was broken. The repair work, however, did not fall on the Newcastle Municipality’s shoulders but instead those of the Department of Water and Sanitation.
At the time, the spokesperson for the National Department of Water and Sanitation, Sputnik Ratau, explained that the Infrastructure Management team at the department was in the process of having it repaired.
However, now three months later, the repair work is still ongoing. “The department is finalising the appointment of a professional service provider to manufacture, deliver, install and commission one radial gate at Ntshingwayo Dam,” states Ratau.
While the problem has not yet been resolved, he explains that an emergency gate/stoplog has been installed as a temporary solution.
Further saying, “the cause of the broken sluice gate was the limit switch that failed during the normal operation of the radial gate. The department is following the supply chain process, in order to procure the services of a professional service provider to replace the radial gate.”
Questioning wastage, Ratau assures that the necessary steps have been taken to ensure absolutely no water wastage. “Ntshingwayo Dam design includes an emergency gate that is used in cases of emergency or maintenance. During this incident, the department installed the emergency gate to prevent the loss of water. There was no water wasted because of the broken sluice gate because the emergency gate was installed timeously,”
Adding to the good news, the dam is currently operating at full capacity. This means that if everyone is water conscious, we should not have to worry about the dry months.
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Images: Supplied by Dept of Water & Sanitation