Metolong to compensate residents

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Lekhalaneng eruption
Lekhalaneng eruption

Rethabile Pitso

The owners of homes and businesses which were flooded after two pipe-bursts in Maseru are set to get compensation from the Metolong Authority.

The first pipe burst occurred on 10 June 2016 near Lekhalaneng along the Main South 1 Road resulting in the flooding of nearby homes and businesses.

A similar incident happened near Thabong in the early hours of 24 June, with nearby homes and businesses swamped by the deluge.

According to Metolong Authority Public Relations Officer Matseliso Makoele, the organization would soon compensate customers who were affected by the bursts after the damage sustained was inspected and photographed for insurance purposes.

The Metolong Authority’s role is to implement the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Programme that is meant to provide water for Maseru and the surrounding towns.

The dam was built on the South Phuthiatsana River, around 35km from Maseru, and officially began supplying water to Maseru last November.

Ms Makoele said the pipes were currently delivering water under a one-year guarantee period.

“During that time, latent defects in the design, fabrication, and installation have become evident. The pipe itself has not burst. However, a functional component attached to the pipe failed in both incidents,” she told the Lesotho Times this week.

“Because the pipe is under considerable pressure, the water that escaped produced a dramatic display. Failure itself has been traced to welding deficiencies which presently are under investigation.”

Lekhalaneng rain

Asked if the burst pipes had been fixed, Ms Makoele said the contractor, UNIK Construction Pty Ltd, responded “expeditiously” to repair the damage.

“At the same time, an evaluation into another similar component failure is in progress following which remedial action will be taken.”

She said following the bursts, Metolong Authority, Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO), the contractor and other stakeholders visited the areas.

“Damage sustained was inspected and photographed. The insurer has already been to the area and plans are in progress to compensate those affected,” said Ms Makoele.

“These incidents are most unfortunate. We are thankful that no one was injured. The cause of the failure is under investigation to prevent any recurrence in the future.”

Meanwhile, WASCO Public Relations Manager Lineo Moqasa has assured consumers the repair of the burst pipes would not disrupt water supply.

“Several homes and business establishments were flooded following a burst water pipe along Main South 1 near Kou’s business establishment in the early morning hours of 24 June 2016,” she said in a statement.

“The burst happened as a result of a rupture of a plate welded to an air -releasing valve assembly along one of the biggest Metolong pipes (1.66m diameter) that transmit water to the Mpilo Reservoir that supplies most of Maseru with water.

“Maintenance teams commenced repair works immediately following the burst and it is not anticipated to cause disruptions in water supply because the storage is at satisfactory levels.”

For his part, Lekhalaneng resident Tjamela Tjamela said they were waiting on the Metolong Authority to deliver on its promise to compensate them.

“Several houses in this area were flooded by water from the burst pipes at around 7am. Fortunately, during that time most people were already awake and preparing for work, so many people managed to remove the water from their homes,” Mr Tjamela said.

“One of my neighbours, however, had already left for work. Because we could not open her house while the water was surging, it was seriously damaged.”

He added: “Our furniture, blankets and electric appliances were damaged by the water. The ceiling also collapsed in one of the houses.

“The Metolong Authority has since dispatched their insurance company to assess the costs of the damage incurred. They also promised to attend to our grievances soon.”

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