Pre-recorded message leaves residents guessing on dry water pipes

2016-04-04 12:20
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Pietermaritzburg - Residents in many parts of Msunduzi were left guessing as to whether the city’s reservoirs had dried up or if burst pipes caused their taps to run dry again at the weekend.

Several areas had no water from Saturday evening until the time of going to print yesterday. However late yesterday afternoon Msunduzi Municipal Acting spokesperson, Nqobile Madonda promised that the matter was being attended to and said water would be “back on in the next few hours, four hours or so”.

At that stage she said Edendale’s water had been restored and that reservoirs were filling up again.

According to Madonda several burst pipes caused the distruption. In Prestbury a pipe burst in Aalwyn Road and another pipe burst in Edendale, affecting Imbali and surrounding areas.

After apparently being bombarded by phone calls from concerned residents reporting that there was no water in their residential areas yesterday, the municipality’s call centre played a pre-recorded audio message. This advised residents that the municipality was aware of water interruptions in Prestbury, Grange, Imbali, Westgate, Raisethorpe, Wembley, Edendale as well as some parts of the CBD, but gave no explanation or estimate of how long it would be before water was restored.

A Prestbury resident, Ian Webster, described the situation as a “nightmare”.

“We cannot use the toilet, We cannot shower. We just wish we knew what is going on. We have been off since Saturday. I think it [the water] came back on at about 2am yesterday but I mean nobody is awake at 2am,” he said. Webster said when he woke again at 6 am the water had gone off again.

The municipality sent a water tanker to Prestbury during the day but Webster said he had missed it. “If you live in a complex, you obviously will not hear it,” he said. He said it would be better if the municipality parked the tanker in one spot so that people could drive up to it rather than have it driving around with “everybody chasing it and with others missing it”.

The same sentiments were expressed by other residents who said they were unaware of the tanker’s presence.

Another Prestbury resident, Chris Hide, said the area had been subjected to water disruptions since last week: “On Sunday March 27 there was no water in Prestbury from approximately 2pm until 5am the next morning. When reported we were told the reservoir had run dry and that we would have to wait for it to fill. We were also told that the valve was faulty due to maintenance.

“On Tuesday March 29 the water was off from 5pm until 5am on Wednesday morning… we were told there were burst water pipes. On Wednesday March 30, water was off from 1pm until 8pm. Again we were told … burst water pipes,” he said.

Madonda confirmed in writing that yesterday disruptions were due to burst water pipes.

• sabelo.nsele@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

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