Mshwathi has water again

2013-02-04 00:00

RESIDENTS in uMshwathi municipality, who suffered chronic water shortages in December and January, now have flowing water again.

The Witness has been tracking the problem and keeping in touch with residents in the affected areas, which included Wartburg, New Hanover, Dingle, Dalton and Swayimane. In December these areas had no water for 14 days and in January the situation showed no signs of improving, with residents having to do without water for 12 days.

uMgungundlovu District Municipality, which oversees the water system, had spent over R1,5 million on water trucks to take water to the affected areas. Residents complained that the water trucks did not always pitch up regularly and uMungundlovu municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo was alerted to this problem.

The water woes were finally sorted out recently and Shami Harichunder, Umgeni Water’s Corporate Stakeholder manager explained in detail how services were restored.

Harichunder said power failures on Eskom installations on at least eight separate occasions and amounting to a total of 152 hours downtime were part of the problem.

He said among the initial problems faced was the inability of Umgeni Water to pump water from its Wartburg, Bruyns Hill and Dingle pump stations because of Eskom electricity supply failures to these pump stations.

“By 10th January 2013 supply- related problems had been fixed by Umgeni Water, after its maintenance crews worked around the clock to repair damaged infrastructure and ensure restoration of service. However, additional problems occurred when there was a failure on the main Wartburg system and, subsequently, ongoing and regular power failures — at intervals of virtually every second day — on Eskom installations.”

Harichunder said the cumulative effect of the two new problems was the long recovery period of the Wartburg pipeline. These problems have since been resolved, and if households still remain without water supply, they are isolated cases.

He added that it was worth understanding the historical context to the problem.

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