Water supply, a ‘balancing act’ picture: graphics24

2016-06-29 06:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has dismissed allegations that the municipality is favouring certain areas by keeping taps running, to the detriment of others.

Speaking to the media about the state of water in the city last week, Brenden Sivparsad said keeping water flowing in the city has now become a balancing act for the Msunduzi water department, which has the ominous task of preventing city taps from running dry.

“Keeping everyone’s taps running is a balancing act at the moment and we try, wherever technically possible, to keep water flowing for all residents, but sometimes areas have to be shut off in order for the reservoirs to fill up,” he said.

Sivparsad said that there has been no good rainfall since December 2015 and, without sufficient rainfall, Msunduzi will run out of water by November.

“The harsh reality is that there has been no change in the weather patterns. Midmar Dam is 44% full . We are now running at a 15% reduction - this means we have to try to balance the supply of water to all residents in Msunduzi with only 85% of water we receive from Umgeni. The reduction in water supply comes from government and we have to comply,” said Sivparsad.

He explained that each area in the city has different demands at different times.

“We have not implemented water shedding yet because we are currently running on operational rules, which seem to be working, however, there are certain areas that are continuously affected,” he said.

Water supply does not go according to specific wards. In most areas there are different reservoirs that supply one ward, therefore one street may have water, but another street, in the same area, may not.

“The water system in the city is largely not intertwined therefore we cannot take from one reservoir to feed another. Water flows in the city via a gravitational system which is operational in 99% of households in the city. High lying areas will run out of water first and will be most affected, whereas low lying areas will be less affected. “It’s a daily juggle. We are managing about 70 reservoirs at the same time. It’s difficult to sustain and maintain the demands everywhere operating without 100% water supply. Every two to three hours something is happening. We are handling the valve and other water infrastructure on a daily basis and these are not meant to be handled every day,” he said.

“Yes, it’s true that we manipulate the system to supply water, but not to give some areas water and others not, because we need to ensure the reservoirs have enough water to supply all areas, so we will shut off certain areas only to allow for water to fill up in the reservoirs,” said Sivparsad.

Certain areas in Msunduzi have been without water for months and this is because the reservoirs that feed these areas are only at five percent and the water supply comes directly from Umgeni Water.

“There is very little we can do in these areas, whatever comes in goes out. Pump stations need water to be active. We have tried different things, but nothing is working,” he said.

Water tankers have been deployed to these areas, but this takes time because there is only one station to fill over 20 tankers. This is why no exact time can be given in the form of a water schedule to these areas.

Acting municipal manager, Sizwe Hadebe, said the sore point for the municipality is the misconception that the water supply is being manipulated to favour some areas over others.

“From our side there is no manipulation. There is no reason we would want certain communities to have water and not others. The manipulation to intentionally supply certain areas does not happen. I am appealing to the community to come forward if they have proof that this is happening and bring it to our attention so something can be done about it,” he said.

Msunduzi Municipality acting marketing and communications manager, Nqobile Madonda, said that notices of water shutdown in certain areas is not as a result of water shedding, it is for the maintenance of infrastructure that is handled on a daily basis.

“Please, we are pleading with the community to not store excessive amounts of water when we send out the messages because this puts more strain on the system and often this water is thrown away because it is not used.

“We are also appealing to people to clean their homes wisely without opening their hosepipes to clean their driveway or any other cleaning that uses a lot of water. A lot of the onus is on the municipality to respond to the water demands, but everyone needs to work together to save water,” she said.

Without sufficient rainfall, Msunduzi will run out of water by November

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