Gamtoos Irrigation Board News

Gamtoos Irrigation Board’s yearly Shutdown

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Gamtoos Besproeiingsraad se jaarlikse Droeë periode

Die Gamtoosvallei se besproeiingskanaal se jaarlikse skoonmaak is vir die boere gewoonlik bietjie van ‘n kopseer.

Maar Rienette Colesky, Menslike Hulpbronne en Finansiële bestuurder by die GBR op Patensie, sê dit is danksy die jaarlikse droeë periodes dat die waterverliese van die skema baie laag is.

"Die gereelde inspeksie en onderhoud van die kanaal is ontsaglik belangrik vir die sukses van die kannaalstelsel," sê sy.

Hulle poog om in vanjaar se droëperiode wat strek van Mei tot Julie, vyf duikpype skoon te maak waar hulle verlede jaar net by drie kon uitkom. Drie splinternuwe dompelpompe is die jaar aangeskaf om die werk te bespoedig en te vergemaklik.

Die span verantwoordelik vir die leegmaak, skoonmaak en inspeksie van die kanaal, is Leon Grundling, Bestuurder van Waterbeheer, André van den Heever, Meganiese Voorman en Abey Maluleka, Bestuurder van Werke. Hulle het al begin Maart vanjaar begin met beplanning en hou elke Maandag ‘n vergadering om seker te maak dat almal op dieselfde bladsy is. Daar is ook elke oggend ‘n kort vergadering met al die voormanne.

"Kommunikasie tussen die spanne is baie belangrik, "sê Grundling. "Dit is gewoonlik ‘n groot uitdaging, maar ons voorsien dat dit die jaar baie goed sal gaan. Die skedules is vroeg al opgestel en pligte uitgelê.”

Van die vyf dele wat die jaar skoongemaak gaan word, is White City in Andrieskraal die grootste. Die ander is lyn 16 ook by Andrieskraal, Condomo, Duplex by Hankey, en lyn 104 by Melon.  Buffelshoek naby Loerie was verlede jaar geinspekteer en word vanjaar net leeggemaak vir die Departement van Waterwese wat die onderhoudswerk gaan doen.

Die GBR is verantwoordelik vir die takkanale en kleiner herstelwerk, waar die Departement van Waterwese verantwoordelik is vir die vervanging van infrastruktuur op die hoofkanaal.

Die groot skoonmaakproses is op 30 April onverwags met ‘n hele week vervroeg toe ‘n duikpyp wat D-kanaal voer gebars het.

"Ons moes omtrent rondspring om vining spanne bymekaar te kry,”sê Maluleka. "Maar daai D-kanaal kan nou ‘n kroontjie kry. Hy was nog nooit so skoon nie. Ek is baie trots op ons werk daar,” sê hy.

Hierdie jaar is daar 140 ekstra tydelike werkers aangestel vir die skoonmaak van die kanaal, wat in spanne van 10 plus hul kontrakteurs werk. "Die helfte van die 14 kontrakteurs is vrouens. Hulle is nie bang vir werk nie en van hulle is sommer lekker kwaai,”sê Maluleka wat al van 1987 betrokke is by die werk.

Hy vertel van al die grillerige plekke waar hy al moes in en die talle bande, slange, diere, en veral skoene wat hulle al uit die kanaal moes haal. "Dit is maar ‘n groot opvoedingstaak om mense bewus te maak daarvan om niks in die kanaal te gooi nie,”sê hy.

Die werkers word twee weke voor die tyd opgelei en by elke werksperseel is daar ‘n veiligheids en gesondheidsbeampte.

André van den Heever wat in beheer van die meganiese werk is, sê hulle doen die jaar 11 sluise oor. "Drie van die sluise se pype word vervang, en alles wat gegalvaniseerd is, word met vlekvrye staal vervang." 

Grundling sê hulle doen vanjaar baie moeite om so min as moontlik water te mors met die skoonmaakproses en waar dit prakties moontlik is, die water te herlei wat uitgepomp word. "Ons het ook vanjaar besluit om nie baie lang stukke te doen waar baie water uitgepomp moet word nie, maar eerder meer korter stukke as gevolg van die droogte,"sê hy.

"Daar is elke jaar goed wat onvoorsiens gebeur, en dan moet ons maar plan maak. Maar ons is reg vir die jaar se groot skoonmaak. Ons is 'n goeie span," sê Grundling. 


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Gamtoos Irrigation Board’s yearly Shutdown


The annual maintenance and cleaning of the Gamtoos Irrigation canal usually is an uncomfortable time for the farmers.

But Rienette Colesky, Human Resource and Financial Manager at GIB, says it is because of the regular dry periods that the system’s water losses are so low.

"The regular inspection and maintenance of the canal is extremely important for the success of the canal system,” she says.

The GIB plan to clean up to five syphons in this year’s dry period which stretch from May to July. Last year they could only manage to clean three. Three brand new submersible pumps were bought to make the whole process easier and faster.

The team that is responsible for the emptying, cleaning and maintenance of the canal, is Leon Grundling, Manager of Water Control at GIB, André van den Heever, Mechanical Supervisor, and Abey Maluleka, Manager of Operations. They have already started planning and meeting since March this year for this and meets every Monday with all the roll players to make sure everyone is on the same page. There is also a meeting with all the supervisors every morning.

"Communication between the teams are very important,” says Grundling. "It is usually a great challenge, but we think that everything is going to go smooth this year. The schedules were planned early and duties were allocated.”

White City in Andrieskraal is the biggest syphon of the five that are going to be cleaned. The rest are Line 16 also at Andrieskraal, Condomo, Duplex near Hankey, and line 104 at Melon. Buffelshoek near Loerie was inspected last year and will only be emptied by the team this year. The Department of Water Affairs will do some maintenance.

GIB is responsible for the smaller canals and smaller repairs, where the Department of Water Affairs is responsible for refurbishment of the main canal.

A syphon on the D-canal unexpectedly burst on the 30thof April.  The maintenance on the D-canal had to be done earlier.

"We had to work quickly to get a team together,” Maluleka said. "But that D-canal can get a crown now. It has never been this clean. I am very proud of our work there.”

This year there are 140 extra workers used for the cleaning of the canal.  They work in teams of ten with their contractors. "Half of the 14 contractors are women. They are not scared for work and some of them are very strict,” said Maluleka who is involved with this project since 1987.

He tells stories of all the gruesome places he had to climb in and lots of tyres, snakes, animals and especially shoes he had to get out of the canal system. "It is a big task to educate the people not to throw things in the canal,” he said.

All the contractor workers were trained two weeks before the shutdown, and there is a health and safety officer at each site.

André van den Heever, who is in charge of the mechanical work, says they are working on 11 sluices (locks) this year. "Three of the sluice’s pipes will be replaced. The galvanised pipes, will be replaced with stainless steel.”

Grundling says they are making a big effort to save water with the cleaning process and where it is possible they will redirect the water. "We also decided not to clean large syphons this year, but rather the shorter ones to save water, because of the drought,” he said.

"Every year there are unforeseen circumstances, but then we make a plan. We are ready for this year and we have a great team,” Grundling said.

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Contact details
Fred Ferreira Way, Patensie, 6335, Eastern Cape
+27 (042) 283 0382
+27 (042) 283 0329
info@gamtooswater.co.za

Emergency Contact details
General 066 470 3782
R Colesky 083 703 0428
A Murray 083 490 1737
L Grundling 083 552 0157
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