Copper wire theft and the big thirst

Daniel Chida
VULNERABLE: 100km Masama water project

Water Utilities Corporation has been experiencing an upsurge in cases of vandalism at some critical boreholes along the 100km Masama water project.

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When answering a question in Parliament, the Minister of Lands and Water Affairs, Dr Kefentse Mzwinila said a total of 26 out of 56 boreholes have been vandalised so far..

Mzwinila said that vandalism is carried out by some criminal elements in the society that steal copper wires. “All 56 boreholes rely heavily on large scale copper pipes for wiring. The pipeline is operating optimally without any defects. The amount of water supplied from Masama Water Scheme, is however, affected by unavailability of boreholes at Masama well fields due to vandalism.”

The Minister said that the vandalism has forced them to use aluminium cables instead of copper cables because they are less attractive to criminals.

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“BPC installed Aerial Bundle Cables (ABC) instead of copper on the other boreholes and a tender is at award stage to restore both cables and control panels on other boreholes,” he explained.

According to the minister there are on-going efforts to reinforce security along the pipeline

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“A private security company is carrying out night patrols throughout the borehole networks at both Masama East and West. The patrols are on vehicles and also using horse backs. Additional security enhancements which include the use of digital technology is at tender evaluation stage.”

Mzwinila further explained that shortage of water supply is not directly related to the pipeline, but rather related to the wellfielde and the boreholes in that wellfield.

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“The design capacity of the scheme is 64 million litres per day, but currently operating at 20 million litres per day. The scheme has 56 boreholes, three pump stations, four storage tanks, a network of pipelines of varying sizes, Telemetry network, power distribution network (11 Kilovolt and 33 Kilovolt) and the recently commissioned 100 km pipeline. Before it was handed over, 64 boreholes were working but some were damaged overtime until the number went down to 56,”said Mzwinila

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