Trial run for ‘no-water crisis’

2015-05-20 06:00
Dry, dusty and a rapidly shrinking pool of water – Lake Merthley this week.
                                                                             Photos: B. WALKER

Dry, dusty and a rapidly shrinking pool of water – Lake Merthley this week. Photos: B. WALKER

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IT is a loud and clear wake-up call to all Greytonians who, since Saturday, have had no running water­, and this could be a trial run for users if the expected spring rains do not happen.

Lake Merthley is drying up and currently stands at less than a third full. Every resident must accept that Greytown is in the throes of a major disaster and could run out of water within months. If usage is not reduced and wastage­ not stopped, water tankers, scoops and buckets will become part of daily life.

This current crisis was picked up last Saturday when a 7am inspection at the waterworks revealed that the inflow had dropped drastically leading to an immediate investigation to establish what the problem was. The Greytown water team, Ardeep­ Munessar, Joe Morgan, Brian Walker, Mzi Nxumalo and Vincent Mkhize swung into 48 hours of action checking out probable causes.

A private firm of divers from Newcastle inspected the four outlets in the wall early on Sunday, but could not find the fault. The second task for the water team was to dig a trench, by hand, below the wall to check out an ancient air valve. It was heavy work until 8pm on Sunday. Going beyond the call of duty, Laal Bhagwadeen of DIYA International, made a special­ trip to Pietermaritzburg to collect a new air valve as well as other components and spares.

Unfortunately, on Monday it was found that the intervention had not produced the hoped-for results. In a statement to the Greytown Gazette on Monday, Pradeep Ramlall of Umzinyathi said that divers had been called back. They found the abstraction valve on the top outlet sucking air which creates havoc, thus reducing the flow rate. The divers managed to block the top valve creating a marginal improvement. A siphoning­ system will be installed to help boost output and hopefully by Wednesday there will be water. Divers also cleaned out the abstraction valve in the bottom outlet, which was full of sludge .

Umzinyathi spokesperson, Pradeep Ramlall has issued a warning to water consumers saying that further restrictions are being imposed in view of the critical­ level of Lake Merthley. Water will now be closed off during the day – not in the early morning or evening. Car washes will be stopped from operating.

A notice is to be published in the Government Gazette shortly approving penalties to be imposed on consumers found to be wasting water.

Ten water tankers are moving around the entire Greytown area daily – the water is free. Tankers have been allocated specific areas - schools, Bandamp;Bs, and so on, so please be patient, residents are asked. For queries, contact Theresa Edwards, Umvoti Municipality on 033 413 9207, Lindankosi Mchunu on 081 336 1884 or Umzinyathi Customer Care Centre on 033 413 1946.

Social media was humming over the weekend – those who realise the seriousness of the breakdown making sensible suggestions, while the whingers and whiners stirred and muttered about “dirty” water with no thought of those trying to sort the problem out.

A constant reliable source of clean water is of equal importance to every person and it is vital­ that all learn a lesson from this disaster that unless every single user makes the effort to save water, and not think “oh, this won’t make any difference” buckets scoops, tanks and dry taps will be the norm.

As one of the current bucket brigade­, the Greytown Gazette editor appeals to every resident to co-operate and save this most precious commodity of all – water

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