Greytown runs dry, but new houses planned

2009-08-26 00:00

ALTHOUGH Greytown’s water system can barely cope with the current demand and residents have had water restrictions imposed, a project for 492 additional houses is set to go ahead.

For the past few years, Greytown has had major water problems amid allegations that water services provider uThukela Water is not coping.

Residents at the top end of the town are more often without water than those living at the lower end and have had to fight for their water because the supply is gravity-fed.

uThukela Water imposed water restrictions in September 2007 and residents were told they could not fill their pools; they were not allowed to water their gardens; they could not use hosepipes; they were unable to get new water connections; and no new buildings, including extensions or additions, were permitted.

Residents say that nothing has been done to enforce the restrictions and that no one has been fined for breaching them.

“Regardless of water restrictions, 492 additional houses are being built.

“We are already bathing three to a bath, washing five loads of washing in one lot of water and using bath water for the toilets to try conserve water,” said a resident at the top end of the town.

Another resident said leakages are visible on the roads and that when they run water to bath, it is usually filthy and has debris floating in it.

“The water supply is disrupted time and again. Water pipes burst and have to be replaced continuously [yet they] still guarantee sufficient water to build 492 houses and to supply water for those houses after they have been built,” said the resident.

Responding to allegations that uThukela is not coping with the supply, customer services officer Dumisani Thabethe said demand for water has grown considerably, but resources and infrastructural capacity have remained the same.

“Grant funding to address the problems has only started to trickle in recently.

“Although we have requested residents to restrict water usage … uThukela Water does not have authority to impose any tariffs or fines,” said Thabethe.

uMzinyathi District Municipality Mayor Mbangiseni Yengwa said the growing population means there is a greater demand for housing, so the development is necessary.

“I don’t think people of Greytown must panic and say there will be no water.

“The capacity will be looked at and will cover everything,” said Yengwa.

He said the district municipality is doing something about the poor infrastructure and will take up uThukela Water’s functionality with the responsible MEC.

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