MobiSAM revives at a critical time
MobiSAM revives at a critical time
Grahamstown is no stranger to ongoing water supply issues.
Ageing infrastructure, operational issues, unreliable rainfall patterns and droughts all impact on the Municipality’s ability to provide water to roughly 80 000 residents.
Despite ongoing issues spanning almost half a decade, recent developments and a partnership between Makana Municipality and Amatola Water things have steadily been improving.
Almost three years of tireless work in Makana
In a recent meeting organised by the Grahamstown Residence Association (GRA), Makana Municipality updated Grahamstown residents about the action that has been taken to fix and improve the overall water supply.
According to Amatola Water’s, Chris Nair the Bulk Water Services Manager for Makana between 2013 and June 2016 Amatola Water has upgraded Waainek and James Kleynhans water treatment works and trained municipal staff on the proper operation and maintenance of the facilities.
Amatola Water has also managed to steady and increase the supply of water by refurbishing water pump stations, removing large amounts of sludge in the water supply and replacing broken valves and other ageing infrastructure.
Alongside the hard work of repairing, maintaining and training, Nair and his team have also assisted with enhancing Makana’s revenue generation through the installation of advanced metre reading systems in order for the Municipality to bill for water consumption far more accurately.
As such much has improved and over the past two years, yet according to the Municipality additional funding is still required to replace all of the rapidly deteriorating, ageing water infrastructure.
Communication between Makana and residents
One of the key concerns regarding the ongoing water crises in Grahamstown has been communication between residents, the Municipality and their contracted proxies. There have been times of no to very little information circulated to residents regarding emergency water outages as well as routine maintenance of infrastructure leading to increased frustration and at times exasperation among the residents of the Municipality.
Recent water crises
In the past month Grahamstown has experienced severe water problems. Grahamstown East, Oatlands North and some parts of Grahamstown West have experienced water outages and in some serious instances residents have had to go without water for days on end. The Municipality sent out a notice on the 25th of June stating, “the James Kleynhans pump station is flooded and all the pumps are under water. Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the problem and the extent of the damages.” In order to preserve water levels, all reservoirs were closed cutting off supply to Grahamstown East and Oatlands North.
On the 28th of June, the Waainek area experienced an electricity outage that affected the Howiesinspoort pump station which feeds the reservoirs in the western side. The Municipality responded with the following public circular, “Due to electricity outage in the early hours of the morning, the whole of Grahamstown does not have water but the pump station started pumping at 7am. We are anticipating to have water late afternoon.” The municipality urged citizens to be patient as they were doing all they could to manage and restore water circulation across the town.
These and many more messages were communicated from the Municipality through a number of online and offline channels so as to ensure that residents had ready and reliable information regarding the developments. The MobiSAM facebook page as well as other key stakeholders made use of their social media presence to expand the reach of the municipal messages, which made for improved communication between all parties involved.
Although Grahamstown’s water woes are far from over, open, honest and transparent communication between Makana Municipality and residents remains vital.
MobiSAM 2.0 to be launched in September
MobiSAM will be launching a new and improved version of the mobile application in September. MobiSAM version 2.0. will allow registered users to report any (not just water) service delivery problems using any type of mobile phone as well as receive important service delivery information/notices or responses to reported cases directly from the municipality.
MobiSAM will assist Makana Municipality and residents to regularly and efficiently update and inform residents about water outages and other service delivery problems. Between now and the MobiSAM version 2.0 launch, residents can currently report problems and/or receive updates and more information on water outages from MobiSAM’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/mobisam.net