New pipes by 2017

2015-05-15 09:43
uMgungundlovu municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo (left) and mayor Yusuf Bhamjee holding the old and new water pipes ahead of the Hilton, Merrivale and Merrivale Heights AC Pipe Replacement Project.

uMgungundlovu municipal manager Sbu Khuzwayo (left) and mayor Yusuf Bhamjee holding the old and new water pipes ahead of the Hilton, Merrivale and Merrivale Heights AC Pipe Replacement Project. (Amil Umraw)

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IT may take two years, but it will be worth it. That’s the view of chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers Association, reacting to news that uMgungundlovu Municipality has budgeted more than R250 million to replace ageing water pipes in Hilton and Merrivale.

Problems with the ailing infrastructure have resulted in continuous shortages in supply for the fuming residents recently.

In light of continuous problems over more than three decades, the ­uMgungundlovu Municipality has set aside R169 million to replace ruptured ­asbestos cement (AC) piping in Hilton and R80 million for the Merrivale and Merrivale Heights areas.

The asbestos pipes will be replaced with unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) piping.

At a function held yesterday headed by district mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, the municipality launched the two-year Hilton, Merrivale and Merrivale Heights AC Pipe Replacement Project, which will replace 93 km of AC pipeline in Hilton and 29 km in Merrivale.

The main objectives of the replacement programme are to reduce the current high level of shortages which are primarily due to burst pipes, leakage from pipe joints, old valves and faulty meters as well as to rationalise and relocate the reticulation within public spaces.

The project, which has a two-year deadline, will roll over to other affected areas after it is complete.

“This labour-intensive project will immensely contribute to less water interruptions in the lives of our residents mostly affected and will also positively improve our revenue,” Bhamjee said.

Head of the municipality’s technical department Bheki Mbambo said as the project progresses, nobody should be left without water for more than a day, and if there are problems, the municipality will take steps to notify residents and supply water through tankers.

In addition to replacing the main piping, a new 100 kilolitre elevated tank and a pump house will be installed in the Groenkloof reservoir site.

The water infrastructure currently in place loses more than 57% of its water per day, leaving residents’ taps dry.

Hilton resident Steve Matten said his home in Dennis Shepstone Road has had dribbles of water for the past three weeks.

“We are extremely frustrated with this. It’s either the pressure is too low, or it’s too high. Some of my neighbours have ­resorted to catching rain water,” Matten said.

Chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers Association Mano Naidoo said for him the job creation of the project is also a key issue.

The project will seek to employ Hilton and Merrivale locals to do the manual ­labour, creating temporary employment for residents.

“This will be two years of an uphill struggle but there are long-term benefits. This is long overdue,” Naidoo said.

In Numbers:

57% - the amount of water lost in the system in Hilton and Merrivale.

R250 million will be spent

93km of pipeline in will be replaced in Hilton and 29km in Merrivale.

2 years - the time the project will take to complete

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