‘If we mess up, all confidence is lost’: engineer on Rand Water project

Day 2 of 54-hour water outage sees pipeline project reach halfway mark

16 November 2021 - 11:20
The valve rigs installed into the new water pipe feeding the needs of eight Gauteng municipalities are 2.5m in diameter.
The valve rigs installed into the new water pipe feeding the needs of eight Gauteng municipalities are 2.5m in diameter.
Image: Rand Water

Day 2 of Rand Water’s 54-hour shutdown of Johannesburg’s water feed sees the maintenance project on track, with all work proceeding without a hiccup so far.

“There is a lot of excitement on site. We are a giant team working together with all the odds against us and things are running as smoothly as we planned,” said head engineer Eddie Singo.

“What is even more exciting is how consumers have responded to us. They listened, they prepared and they are using water sparingly. So far we have not had a single area with no water. The people heeded our call and we appreciate that.”

Singo is the lone manager in charge of the job and has been on site throughout. He is in touch with every team on duty and familiar with every aspect of the maintenance shutdown project.

The planned outage is to enable Rand Water to shut down the B11 pipeline to allow for the cross connections fitting to the newly constructed B19 pipeline. During the shutdown two valve rigs will be installed in chambers cut into the pipes, while other work is being carried out at the Vereeniging, Lethabo and Eikenhof pump stations.

These two valves are the main parts of a key maintenance project that will see the water pumped into Joburg's fresh water supply beefed up to a capacity that will sustain the city well after 2040.
These two valves are the main parts of a key maintenance project that will see the water pumped into Joburg's fresh water supply beefed up to a capacity that will sustain the city well after 2040.
Image: Rand Water

During this period about 600 megalitres will be drained out of the B11 pipeline, and will flow back into the water course to the Vaal River. This water — enough to fill more than 9,000 swimming pools — equates to about 13% of the total amount of water in the system.

“We have cut out the rig chambers and have slotted the valve rigs into place. Everything is set,” Singo told TimesLIVE, adding that the heavy welding work needed on the job would start at about midday.

“Then we will place a wrapper over that welding and weld again,” he said.

“I am on site and casting my eyes wide to make sure nobody is left waiting more than two minutes. If we mess up, the confidence in us is lost. We have to prove ourselves to the people and when we say we will do the work in 54 hours, that is what we have to do.

“We want people to trust us and believe in us.”

So far, so good. Halfway has been successfully marked.

TimesLIVE


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