By STAFF REPORTER
The main concrete works for the R110.6-million upgrade of the James Kleyhans Water Treatment Works are almost complete.
But Engineering News reports that installing the steel pipe fittings and specials is proving to be challenging due to a scarcity of the specialised materials required, the escalating cost of steel items, and the related cash flow issues that arise from these problems.
The delays in the progress of this second phase of the three-phase project come on top of the delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and cash flow problems experienced by Mamlambo Consulting, the engineering first appointed to the project.
Amatola Water, the implementing agent for the project, appointed East London-based Mamlambo Construction as the consulting engineer on Phase 1 of the project, which was completed in September 2019. Phase 2 was also awarded to Mamlambo Construction in January 2020 and was expected to be completed by March 2021.
But, Mamlambo’s cash flow problems caused ongoing delays, and the completion deadline was extended to June 2021, then October 2021, and March 2022. Despite the participation of a second consulting engineering firm, Bosch Projects, the new June 2022 deadline appears to be out of reach, too.
By the end of Phase 2, the plant’s holding capacity will double from 10 megalitres a day (Mℓ/d) to 20 Mℓ/d, drawing water from the plentiful supply of water from the Glen Melville Dam (in turn, fed by the Orange-Fish water scheme). But Makhanda will only see a difference in the water supply to the city when pipes to the Botha’s Hill reservoir are upgraded to handle double the capacity at the end of Phase 3.
Bosch Projects manager Rowan Bode said Phase 2 included the construction of primary infrastructure, including chlorination, flocculation channels, sedimentation tanks and filters. Works will also comprise an internal road and mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation upgrades.
However, despite numerous requests for information sent to project communication officers, Grocott’s Mail could not determine the estimated completion dates for either Phase 2 or 3.
Funding for the implementation of the project is through the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant programme.
30% of the project value was awarded to emerging subcontractors.
In April, Makana Local Municipality councillors and officials conducted an oversight visit to the James Kleynhans Water Treatment Works.