Elephant Damage On Pipeline Cost WUC Over P2 Million

Date:

Elephants damage the Phuduhudu pipeline every time its repaired

  • Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) repairs pipeline weekly
  • Corporation has spent over P2 million on pipeline maintenance
  • Angry councillors fault WUC for failure to consult on the project
  • Drilling boreholes for elephants would keep them away from infrastructure
  • Councillors want a permanent solution to address the situation
  • The consistent breakdown affects water supply

The lack of consultation for a better design and construction of the Phuduhudu pipeline that cuts through the Makgadikgadi National Park has come to haunt the corporation as it now spends P40 000 a month to repair the infrastructure due to elephant damage.

Water Utilities Corporation (WUC) has for the past five years spent P2.61 million in maintenance of the infrastructure, which is repaired four times (every week) each month at a cost of P10 000 per every maintenance.

In essence, elephants always come back to damage the infrastructure every time its repaired in search of water. The pipeline caters for villages including Khumaga, Moreomaoto, Motopi, Makalamabedi, Phuduhudu and Chanoga.

Following Bojanala area councilor Luke Motlaleselelo question to the corporation, the shocking revelation came through an answer which was read by the North West District Council Secretary Thatayothe Balapi in council.

Motlaleselelo had wanted to know how much the corporation has spent on the maintenance of the infrastructure and why it did not drill boreholes to provide water for the elephants to avoid pipeline damages. 

The answer as read by Balapi further indicated that WUC is unable to drill boreholes for elephant since the pipeline traverse a protected area.

The answer irked the already irate councilors – with Boyei Councilor Ntlogelang Kebonyekgotla expressing his disappointment as he expected WUC to give them a detailed mitigation plan as a lot of money was being lost in maintenance of infrastructure damaged by elephants.

He further indicated that the response clearly showed that the corporation did not engage the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DNWP) prior to the project implementation.

Meanwhile, Motlaleselelo was equally disappointment with the WUC for failing to provide a long term solution to address the matter. He indicated that if it was possible for other national parks to have boreholes then it was possible for WUC to work with DNWP and drill boreholes wild animals in the Makgadikgadi National Park.

He further cited that the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) has boreholes drilled inside, to create water points for wild animals in the area. He emphasised that the same initiative used for those boreholes may be implemented to address the WUC infrastructure damages caused by elephants.

By drilling borehole Motlaleselelo has said elephants will instead spare the pipeline as they will have easy access water and also keeping them away from the main road which also poses danger to road users.

“I do not understand why WUC is failing to engage with DNWP to drill boreholes in the park. Providing water for the elephants will be the only valid solution to stop elephants from destroying the pipes,” Motlaleselelo said.

Sharing the same sentiments,  Kgosi Oateng Sethodi of Chanoga expressed his disappointment, saying WUC has been spending a lot of money in infrastructure repairs instead of coming up with a long term solution.

He indicated that the project which was meant to meet water demand has failed to live up to expectations as they are affected by constant water shortage every now and then when the pipes are destroyed. 

“The Boteti water reticulation cluster is not serving its purpose due to elephant damage and it is disappointing to get such an answer from WUC. Currently villages served by the pipeline rely on water bowsing due to constant damages. This is unnecessary because millions were spent on the project for better water supply,” Setlhodi said.

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