Emergency solutions ease city’s water crisis

2014-06-12 00:00

SUBURBS north of Durban survived their first day without 40% of their normal water supply yesterday, following emergency solutions to the water pipe bridge collapse on Tuesday.

Responding to the crisis — caused by cable thieves near the Reservoir Hills water treatment plant — eThekwini Water operations manager Bhavna Soni told The Witness that no areas had run out of water, but that residents north of the uMgeni River should conserve water for another week.

Yesterday, the paper revealed that the theft of just R90 worth of steel cable had caused the collapse of the service bridge over the uMgeni and a repair bill of up to R5 million — and that theft-related maintenance represented 50% of all maintenance work done by eThekwini water.

Soni said a new 800 millimetre pipe — capable of discharging over 600 million litres per day — was being laid on an alternate bridge and that she hoped the contractor would complete the job by next Wednesday.

She said local reservoirs and the rerouting of water through smaller pipes had kept the network running, while the existing, larger pipe from Reservoir Hills continued to operate normally.

“I’m happy with where we are today, so long as people continue to reduce their water usage — so no filling swimming pools or extra washing,” she said.

Soni said the fact that reservoir levels were “okay” indicated that many residents had answered the city’s call to use water sparingly yesterday.

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