Water supply, ‘not a crisis, a disaster’

2015-05-27 06:00

UMVOTI’S water supply is “no longer a crisis, it is now a disaster­”. These were the words of Umvoti­ Mayor Thami Ngubane who updated residents at a meeting in the town hall on Thursday about the current water­ situation. In view of the seriousness of the situation the mayor said, the Umvoti council and municipality had now intervened and a meeting had been held with the water service providers Umzinyathi District Municipality to brainstorm a way forward.

It is absolutely vital that every single water consumer in Umvoti­ realises that if there is no rain by the end of August, Lake Merthley, which is currently only at 33% full, will dry up. The mayor, who had addressed a meeting in Enhlalakahle the night before, said that the message was exactly the same to all – save water, do not waste a drop, if this was done we would be able to preserve what water there is. However, it had to be accepted that the water­ shortage is long-term as the new source of water from Craigieburn Dam would only be operative in 2017.

As part of the intervention in support of consumers, the Umvoti council, with the assistance of Umzinyathi. is to install 65 5000-litre jojo tanks at strategic points throughout Umvoti (all 11 wards) and once this is done water in Greytown and surrounds will be shut off from 8am to 4pm every day. There will be water on tap from 5am to 8am and again from 4pm to 8pm. It is expected the tanks will be installed by next week. A public meeting will be held to inform residents when the tanks are ready and what drought interventions have been put in place.

There is a considerable waste of water through unattended or unidentified leaks and in this regard the mayor said that from this week every household would be checked for any leaks and action will be taken as and when appropriate. Repairs would be carried out free of charge. This programme is being financed by Umzinyathi. An awareness campaign on saving water is being conducted in schools. The mayor said there would be meetings with businesses to ensure that restrictions did not affect them negatively. Although the bulk of the community were doing their share to save water there are still some who have not accepted the seriousness of the situation. By-laws relating to the use of hosepipes and washing of cars in car washes would be strictly implemented and penalties imposed should they not be adhered to.

The Umvoti disaster management team is monitoring the situation closely. Queries can be directed to Disaster Manager, Mr Vilakazi on 033 413 9134 or you can get updates on the municipal website at www.umvoti.gov.za

At last week’s public meetings concerns were raised about the possible vandalism of the jojo tanks that are to be installed, whether a small committee should be set up to assist the municipality was mentioned, comment on the non-attendance of representative from Umzinyathi, which had not responded to queries raised at a previous meeting several months ago, expression of appreciation to Brian­ Walker for his assistance in the water crisis, checking the existing municipal bore-holes and their production, the huge cost of transporting water from Muden by the Aqua tankers - alternate sources should be checked - and a relook at the building of 1 000 houses.

This is the message from the mayor and the municipality to residents: “The seriousness of the drought cannot be treated lightly. Greytown will run out of water if people use too much, continue to waste water and do not respect it. Everyone must expect and accept disruptions until the rains come. It is up to everyone to do their share in saving water and not waste a drop of this precious commodity­.”

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