Ox head to pipe dream

2017-08-02 06:00
According to ‘Greytown myths’, the three-year drought was triggered when this photograph of an ox head, found floating in Lake Merthley, was published at the beginning of 2014.

According to ‘Greytown myths’, the three-year drought was triggered when this photograph of an ox head, found floating in Lake Merthley, was published at the beginning of 2014.

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FOR the past two years Greytown residents have shown resilience and ingenuity in coping with the continuous water shortage.

Many have tanks, pumps, boreholes, rain-water containers (though that’s a bit sparse these days). but many are still dependent on fetching water from a street JoJo tank. Between irresponsible thieves and uncaring officials there are actually very few JoJo tanks in the streets and in Kranskop.

Greytown’s few remaining street JoJos were again under attack over the weekend.

These tank thieves have to plan ahead - first of all a JoJo has to be empty. That means the tap has to be removed and the water allowed to gush out.

On Saturday night, a York Street resident went out to check why the dogs were barking. He heard the “snip, snip” of wires being cut and realised the JoJo tank was being stolen. Sighting a bakkie, with his father they gave chase alerting security firms and the police on the way. The getaway vehicle, a blue turquoise bakkie with the registration LNF 6731GP had five men in it.

The vehicle veered off through the plantations and then on to the Lake Merthley road - using this route possible road blocks on the Muden road are avoided and the driver can pick up the Tugela Ferry road without detection. The chasers managed to retrieve the JoJo from the somewhat aggressive gang - although the security firms and police arrived promptly the tanker thieves took off and escaped in the bakkie, but there was enough time to grab the Jojo as the thieves disappeared in the dust.

Then again on Sunday, this time a red Toyota bakkie was said to be the vehicle for Jojo tank in Mncane Road near the Greytown Hospital. Field Security were alerted and prevented the theft from taking place.

The registration of this Greytown bakkie was reported to the Police by witnesses.

According to “Greytown talk” the reason for the disastrous drought being experienced is the report and photograph in the Greytown Gazette of 15 January, 2014 featuring the discovery of an ox head and entrails, which had been floating in Lake Merthley at the end of the year - mystery surrounded how or why the head had landed up in the lake.

Be that as it may by December 2014 the lake had dropped to 55% full, but no one seemed too concerned.

The Greytown Gazette pointed out that severe restrictions had been imposed previously on water consumers in the early 1990’s when the level had dropped to 60% and the area had suffered drought conditions.

It took until mid-2015 before Umzinyathi, the water service provider, and Umvoti Municipality actually admitted that the water supply was “not a crisis but a disaster”.

Restrictions were imposed, with penalties for those who used too much. Sixty five Jojo tanks were installed throughout the area to be filled by a fleet of tankers.

The system was not ideal, but it worked until the irresponsible got the upper hand through vandalising and stealing tanks. But the officials kept the flag flying by claiming ... three years ago ... two years ago ... then one year ago ... and now maybe next year all our water supply problems would be solved when the Craigieburn pipeline, from the dam at Rietvlei to Greytown was in operation.

All 35kms of pipeline would be pulsating with water according to the Umzinyathi water service providers.

As the cost has escalated by millions of rand the Craigieburn pipeline still remains - a pipe dream.

For three years Greytown has missed out on its customary spring rains - here’s hoping that by September the spell will be broken and the rains will come.

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