Hilton fumes as pipes run dry

2014-10-06 00:00

A WATER spat in Hilton has raised questions over the mushrooming of developments in the area and the adequacy of current infrastructure.

Embattled residents now fear that last week’s water crisis was the tip of the iceberg.

They are critical of the number of developments taking place with little evidence of infrastructure being upgraded to cope with the growing demand.

It all started weeks ago, when Hilton Gardens residents suddenly found their taps running dry during the day. Fingers pointed to the multimillion rand upmarket Garlington gated estate. The Hilton Gardens residents suggested that this was due to Garlington filling up its reservoir, as the water from the borehole on the estate had apparently dropped due to prevailing drought-like conditions.

However, the Garlington homeowners were adamant they were not to blame, assigning blame to the nearby massive, multi-storeyed private hospital under construction and already using water.

Owen Greene, former chairperson of the Garlington Homeowners’ Association, questioned how the development of the hospital could have been approved without the installation of a major water pipeline to serve the needs of the area.

uMgungundlovu district municipal manager Sibusiso Khuzwayo also joined the fray, saying there was an agreement that the municipality would only supplement the Garlington water supply to a limited extent.

“Not so,” said Greene, who believed this was a misreading of the original agreement signed between the estate and the uMngeni Municipality.

He furnished The Witness with a copy of the agreement, which read “the developer undertakes to build a 700-kilolitre reservoir at its cost, once 80 houses had been completed, which will be fed from the existing municipal supply and which will then be capable of meeting the demands of the entire development”.

Greene said at the request of the municipality, the developers sunk a borehole to supplement the water supply rather than build a 700 kl reservoir.

“If the municipality cannot fill the current 200 kilolitre reservoir, how will it fill the bigger reservoir when it is built?” However, all parties admitted this is not a problem that is going to be solved by finger-pointing. The solution to Hilton Gardens taps drying up was resolved when a meeting was held with the parties involved. Khuzwayo said it was agreed then that Garlington will fill up its reservoir during off-peak hours — from 8 pm to 5 am. He said since the implementation of the agreement, they had not received any complaints.

Guy Smith, who was involved in the Garlington development from the start, said they were also proactively looking at solutions. He said there will be a meeting of the homeowners’ board this week to discuss various options. “We want to co-operate with uMngeni and uMgu­ngundlovu, but we want everybody to get a fair deal.”

Colin Johnston, chairperson of the Hilton Ratepayers Association, said he hopes to bring all affected parties together, so that they can understand how the new pipeline — expected to be completed next year — is going to serve the area.

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