Water Matters

by | May 16, 2022 | Blog, Water, Infrastructure and Maintenance | 5 comments

As KOSRA members may be aware, KOSRA is a member of the Service Delivery  Support  Group (SDSG). Please have regard to the following notice regarding water service delivery:

Water matters

Background information

Ndlambe is situated in a fresh water scarce area but fortunately the area has access to lots of seawater which can be processed by reverse osmosis to manufacture fresh water.

Reverse osmosis removes salt and other impurities from the seawater but it is a much more complicated process than simply filtering dam water.

Our ward 3&4 are reliant on the Albany Coast R O (ACRO) plant situated in Boesmansriviermond.

The manufacturing process is reliant on a number of critical factors

  • Constant electricity supply
  • Supply of clean raw water
  • A well maintained water plant
  • A well managed water plant
  • Spare parts and effective procurement process
  • Compliance with Social and Environmental standards

The ACRO plant has been experiencing challenges over many years.

Due to these challenges the leadership of BRRAG, KOSRA, Chamber of Business and Tourism, Estuary Care  and comunitities of Rivers Bend, Merry Hill, Natures landing, formed a combined representative body, SDSG (Service delivery Support Group)  engaged with Ndlambe Municipality in an effort to ensure water availability to the community. Out of these engagements the Service Delivery Support Group (SDSG) was formed which is made up of the four organisations mentioned as well as the ward councillors of Ward 3 & 4.

The SDSG in turn became managing partners in the Water Managing Committee (WMC) with Ndlambe Municipality, DWS and Amatole Water with a strong collaborative agreement with a progressive Terms of Reference (TOR) constitution. From the WMC a Technical Task Team (TTT) was instituted to deal with technical issues that could advise the WMC.

The objective is to establish and maintain a collaborative that harnesses the combined strength of its members to enhancing water service delivery. This is of course is not without conflicts and disagreements but it can be a great long lasting positive when it leads to solutions.

Current position

The ACRO Plant is under severe pressure to deliver enough water in a community with rising needs for fresh water.

Managerial and Technical challenges exist of which some are highlighted.

Managerial challenges

  • Amatola board of directors Has been replaced 3 times in 3 years which creates a continuity issue
  • The current Amatole CEO is the second acting CEO in a year
  • The procurement processes is not conducive for quick of reaction times found in a crisis.
  • The plant does not have a management structure to enable required support from Amatole Water as it is the only reverse osmosis plant under their management.
  • Current inadequate management to implement new conceptual solutions

Technical challenges

  • Insufficient raw water needed for the plant that is clean and without biological matter and sand
  • Sand and algae ingress is blocking the membranes and destroying equipment
  • Insufficient stock of critical spares to cope with the breakdown of machinery which can only be sourced from overseas with lead time of 3-6 weeks.
  • No scheduled maintenance implemented.
  • Constant theft of cables at Diaz well field
  • Little or no respect for Social and Environmental impacts within the operation.


Actions undertaken by the SDSG and the TTT:

Consultation with Minister of water and sanitation to highlight the affect water shortages has on the local economy in the spheres of business and tourism.

  • Consultation with newly appointed Chairperson of the Amatola Board to ensure prioritisation of the ACRO Plant and the difficulties being encountered.
  • Many SDSG meetings with Ndlambe Municipal Manager and Directors, especially over the past weeks, to discuss possible solutions and to provide maximum support
  • To mitigate risk, SDSG and Ndlambe (as the Water Authority) are investigating the appointment of a second water provider. This is not seen as an immediate solution as it would require an EIA study made after finding a site acceptable to neighbours, the installation of an ESKOM line plus the laying of new pipeline all of which will take a lot of time.
  • The TTT meet weekly or bi-weekly
  • Liaison with community leaders
  • Focus on implementing planned maintenance
  • Involvement and monitoring sourcing of the critical spares
  • finding a solution to proved clean raw water to the plant free of biological matter and sand
  • Proposing an appointment of a manager with technical knowledge at the ACRO Plant reporting direct to the Amatola CEO
  • Continued involvement of the TTT
  • Addressing the Social and Environmental issues caused by the Amatola Water Plant
  • Recommending to public to become more self-reliant for water by adding water storage at their homes
  • Improving communication to the communities as well as provision of emergency water by tanker and water tanks to the community
  • Repair of pipeline leaks by Ndlambe and Amatola



There is no easy or quick solution to the water challenges being experienced.

Involvement in the process by the community organisations and us supporting Ndlambe and Amatole Water are crucial and is vital to finding lasting solutions to the challenges to ensure long term sustainable and responsible water supply.


  1. There has been no water in part of Merryhill for over 6 months (Skelton street as an example)
    What is being done to address this dire situation?
    We still pay a “water availability” charge for NO WATER?
    Do we have to resort to “service delivery protests” for action to be taken to fix the situation?

  2. I am willing to offer support, in an advisory capacity, as I oversaw the management of the plant from 2004 until I left Ndlambe in 2015.

    Both Ron Ball and Dave Nicol would be considerable assets to assist in your endeavours to rectify this politically manipulated water supply scheme.

  3. Why is the coastal dune aquifer not being targeted as a source of water for the RO plant? Wells could be installed along the pipeline servitude from Diaz. Similarly, the Alluvial aquifer on the Eco Estate (Kariga side) could be developed.

    There is a resident Hydrogeologist (Merry Hill), Pierre Mouton, who is familiar with these aquifers and developing them.

  4. I know that on all vessels a strainer is installed on the main sea water intake pipe line to the sea chest. Further strainers are also installed on the pipe lines from the sea chest to various pieces of equipment that sea water. I used to work for Alfa Laval Marine and Diesel Department (Centrifugal Separation Systems, Desalination plants, etc on board ships)

    Could someone with more know how on this please make the appropriate suggestion to Amatola

  5. Thank you to everyone who is working on these enormous problems.

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