The planned water outage and maintenance on the raw water bulk pipeline between Jericho pump station and Kriel power station in Mpumalanga was successfully completed by the Department of Water and Sanitation on Friday.

The pipeline, which is over 27 years old, is classified as ageing infrastructure and requires regular maintenance to sustain its life-span. The Department used advanced leak detection technology to determine the key areas in need of urgent repairs.

The maintenance which began on 20 October 2014 was initially scheduled for September but was postponed by the department without explanation.  Work along the pipeline included mechanical refurbishment at the Jericho and Camden pump stations.

Following the completion of the maintenance the department released a statement addressing its role in water supply:  “The department is mandated to ensure security of water supply for all facets of the lives and livelihoods of South Africans. Part of this mandate includes regular maintenance of its infrastructure throughout the length and breadth of the land.”

During the outage, the communities of Ermelo, Davel and Kriel as well as Eskom power stations, mines, farmers and various individual were given water from tanks that were strategically placed within the communities.

“The department has learnt vital lessons from this experience that proper planning and execution, married to critical consultation with end users, cannot be substituted,” said the department.

According to the statement from the department this experience will remain part of their standing operations, as further planned and needed outages on other pipelines continue to be rolled out.