Residents warned of more water shortages
Maseru residents have been warned to expect frequent water-supply disruptions due to a number of challenges being faced by the Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO).
WASCO Chief Executive Officer, Mathealira Lerotholi, on Thursday told journalists that although the water-cuts, which started at the end of last month, had been addressed, residents should still be prepared for a repeat of the disruptions.
“In the last couple of weeks, WASCO experienced a series of incidents that caused intermittent water-shortages in the city of Maseru, particularly in the North East and South East areas of the town. These unfortunate occurrences have caused a regrettable inconvenience to our valued customers.
“As such, WASCO management has decided to explain the circumstances which led to the disruptions and also provide information on solutions to these problems,” Mr Lerotholi said.
The problem, he added, started with a major pipe-burst, and was compounded by an electricity outage.
“The first incident, on 30 January, was a major pipe-burst on the main water supply pipeline to the North-East of Maseru. The pipeline broke at different places at different times. The duration for the repairs was five days due to the complexity of the breakdowns, and the following areas—Maseru East, Stadium Area, Khubetsoana, Tšosane, Tšenola, Koalabata, Naleli and Ntširele to name but a few—were affected.
“Following this incident, the company experienced another misfortune of failure of treatment plant equipment that assists in water-filtration. This took five days to be rectified and during that period, production was only 80 percent of normal output.
“Then on 6 February, we experienced power supply shortages that put the plant on total shutdown for three hours and supply restoration was further affected.
“As if this was not enough, another disruption was experienced over the last two days whereby a pre-chlorination equipment/system also malfunctioned, forcing a complete shutdown of the Maqalika raw water supply, causing a decline of 40 percent in production. These series of events have impacted negatively on our water supply in different parts of Maseru, forcing the company to ration the supply at different times for different places.
“At present our production system is back to normal. However, the public should be aware that after disruptions it always takes a while for the system to fully recharge again. We are closely monitoring the treatment plant after these long disruptions.”
Mr Lerotholi bemoaned the “aging” infrastructure and failure to complete the construction of Metolong Dam as per schedule.
“As you may recall, Metolong Dam was expected to be complete and handed over to WASCO by September 2014.
“However, this was deferred to January 2015, and the latest submitted date is mid May 2015. Until that time, the public should expect to experience this erratic supply of water in Maseru as the main water treatment plant in Maseru is working under stress. Any downtime or disruption in water-production that exceeds three hours always has an impact on supply.”
WASCO has further appealed to the public to use water “sparingly” and always have some in reserve in the home.
“Water is essential to life and human development and we should together strive towards saving every drop. WASCO regrets the inconvenience that these disruptions have caused to the public.”