Taps dry for five months

2008-04-12 00:00

Several households in Ntuzuma near Durban have run completely dry since the municipality cut off their water supply five months ago.

Each day residents anxiously await the arrival of a water bowser so they can collect water to bath and cook. Hundreds of them line up to fill containers of every size and shape that they hope will last through the day.

When the bowser runs dry, the residents go home empty-handed and wait for it to return.

Pupils at the two nearby schools go home to use the toilet.

Resident Thandi Zungu said the water was cut off in some sections in December after several water pipes started to leak.

"[The municipality] didn’t tell us anything; they just cut the water off," she said "No one cares about our conditions … Every day is such a struggle."

Zungu said she saves her bath water to flush her toilet.

"It’s unbearable, especially when the water runs out. We wait for the truck to deliver more. How are people supposed to live like this?" she said.

"Some people don’t get water when it runs out. They have to wait for the afternoon to collect water. This is difficult when you have young children to bath and feed."

Zungu said load shedding makes it difficult to boil the water for drinking.

Ward councillor Bhekisisa Ndaba said he held a meeting with more than 1 000 residents over the issue.

"I explained to them that I was not consulted on the water cuts and did not have answers for them."

Ndaba said he is aware that the local reservoir is leaking and has lost vast amounts of water, which could have brought on the crisis.

"I know the residents are suffering, but I can’t fix the problem. The water department needs to provide answers for the cuts," he said.

Deputy head of operations Ednick Msweli said there is not enough water to supply all the sections in the northern regions of Ntuzuma.

"The demand for water exceeds the supply. Several major leaks have also contributed to the problem, as well as illegal water connections."

Msweli said a new pipeline project that will bring water from Pietermaritzburg will alleviate the problem, but this will take two years to complete.

"We have consultants looking for leaks as we are trying to be pro-active. We encourage the community to work with us so we can solve these problems," he added.

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