The Knysna Municipality has been plagued by failures in its water reticulation system which has left residents and businesses without water and frustrated.

The municipality came out recently to apologise to residents noting that the constant water outages were caused by repair work on broken pipes.

Knysna Municipal Manager, Kam Chetty attributed most of these major pipe breaks to ageing infrastructure, weather and soil conditions.

“The water infrastructure in the CBD was installed over 50 years ago and was one of the first water reticulation systems constructed in Knysna. This infrastructure has reached its lifespan in engineering terms – a typical life cycle of water infrastructure is 30 years,” he explained.

“Moreover, the water pipes are made from asbestos which is brittle and the frequency of breaks have been excerpted by the extreme weather conditions particularly the expansion and contraction.”

Expediting the replacement programme

In response to the situation Mayoral (Mayco) Committee members have agreed that the replacement of pipes cannot be postponed for much longer.

“We want to reassure our residents that we are working on short and long term interventions,”Chetty noted.

“We have commenced with the replacement programme, this includes upgrading of the ageing water lines. The old asbestos pipes are replaced with UPVC (plastic) pipeline which is more conducive to the soil condition. In the areas where this has been implemented the number of pipe breaks has significantly decreased,” he concluded.