Rich Ballito residents to blame for water shortages

2014-03-05 00:00

AFFLUENT Ballito residents have themselves to blame for chronic water shortages and severe restrictions that have dogged the town over the past fortnight.

The harsh restrictions forbid the well-heeled residents from filling swimming pools, using fountains and running irrigation systems, which are commonplace in many of the sprawling upmarket estates in Ballito.

Dophin Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association chairperson Louis Luyt agrees. He has called on residents to save water with the same gusto as they have electricity.

Sembcorp Siza Water, the managing agent for water in the district from Zimbali to Tinley Manor, believes the soaring usage is the result of an extremely hot February where temperatures ranged from 24 to 33 ° Celsius with a high humidity index.

Sembcorp managing director Shyam Misra said the demand on the system was at maximum levels, leaving supplies at only 13% at its main reservoir system — with a capacity of 34 million litres.

“During the year, we generally have a daily usage hovering between 11,5 to 12 million litres. During the festive season, for a four-day trot, this jumps to above 16 milllion litres, but currently we are using over 18 million litres per day. This is a massive leap. When we realised our supply was at critical levels, we immediately undertook a system audit and asked Umgeni Water that supplies us raw water to do the same. Both checks came up clean. On closer analysis of the readings, we realised the drain on the system was exceptionally high domestic use in our predominately affluent areas,” said Misra.

On February 20, the provider issued an urgent notice stating water restrictions would be enforced with immediate effect, affecting businesses, retail, hospitality and medical facilities, with the water turned on three times daily.

The company said lower income areas within the concession area were not a real contributor to the shortage, but they did feel the pinch.

Luyt said no residents had lodged complaints with the association and generally understood why there were cuts.

“The issue is being managed well be Senbcorp. It has been extremely hot, but we all need to help protect this scarce resource and play our part,” said Luyt.

Zimbali Estate Management Association (Zema) general manager Sarika Somai-Sewpersad said their residents have been patient.

“The residents are tolerant, but up to a certain degree. Sembcorp has been in constant communication with us,” said Somai-Sewpersad.

Lifestyle Centre manager Mark Pierce said the centre has coped.

“It is an inconvenience, but we are coping with the shortages. We have access to water at key periods for our restaurants to run,” said Pierce.

Sara Nayager, general manager for Netcare Alberlito Hospital, said: “We are mindful of the water capacity issues being experienced in the Ballito area. At this stage, the hospital has not been impacted. We have nevertheless put a number of contingency plans in place should the situation change and will continue to monitor the situation.”

According to Netcare, the hospital has five operating theatres, 120 beds and boasts finishes and facilities equivalent to that of a five-star hotel.

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