Municipality fills tankers with reverse osmosis water for cattle
NDLAMBE Municipality has been transporting water in tankers to two farms in Alexandria at a cost to ratepayers that has not been quantified.
Local businessman Leon Naude alerted TotT to the activity of the water tankers, after he saw them filling up at the reverse osmosis (RO) plant in Cannon Rocks and entering Kruisfontein farm, which is owned by the municipality, and Longvale farm.
“Obviously we’ve had some rain now, but I’ve seen tankers go to Kruisfontein daily. Also to Longvale farm, which is a trust farm,” Naude said.
TotT reported on the myriad problems at Kruisfontein last week, including the scarcity of ground water on the farm, which is used as a commonage for cattle without any municipal control. Donkeys and pigs are also kept on the land.
There is a borehole and four reservoirs on the farm, but the pump was stolen along with other infrastructure while the land was being leased to a trust and while the municipality was fighting a legal battle with the trust over the length of the lease.
“A milk cow can drink up to 200 litres of water a day,” Naude said. “The municipality cannot transport enough water for up to 1 000 animals.”
Naude said Longvale had suffered similar problems as Kruisfontein, as the infrastructure had disappeared and the farm had deteriorated.
He said the municipality’s attempts to take water to those two farms amounted to “a drop in the bucket” compared to their water needs, but it was costing ratepayers money.
“RO is the most expensive water and the cost to transport it there must be sky-high. A borehole pump would cost less,” he said.
TotT asked the municipality how much water had been transported to Kruisfrontein and Longvale farms in terms of kilolitres and tanker loads; what the cost of this was in terms of water and fuel; when the municipality would replace the borehole pump on Kruisfontein; and what the municipality’s relation and obligation to Longvale farm was.
Municipal spokesman Cecil Mbolekwa said since January the municipality had delivered 14 tanker loads to Kruisfontein and 13 to Longvale.
“We are currently busy with water catchment areas to assist in the scourge of water shortage on that farm,” he said.
Mbolekwa described Longvale as a “farming enterprise with livestock and chicory”.
“Our commitment [to] them [is] giving them technical advice with the assistance of the department of agriculture,” he said.
He did not reveal how much the assistance had cost in terms of water and fuel.