Water supply finally improves in Hilton but crisis is far from over

2015-01-26 00:00

AFTER 19 days of little or no water, residents in Winterskloof, Mount Michael and Hilton are slowly seeing an improvement in the supply.

Chairperson of the Hilton Ratepayers ­Association (HRA), Colin Johnston, said he was working closely with the technical team from the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to get the clearest possible idea of who in the area was still without water.

“The team still haven’t isolated the actual ­problem … [but] they were working on it yesterday [Saturday] all day and were planning to work on it all day today [Sunday]. Last night most areas had some water although the water pressure was low,” he added.

A former engineer, Johnston said there was no simple solution to the problem.

“We have definitely not reached the end of the road. We are dealing with old pipes in a rural area, which is well covered with vegetation … It was never going to be easy,” he explained.

His thoughts were echoed by environmental consultant Judy Bell, who said Hilton’s problems were down to ageing infrastructure and uncontrolled development.

“The municipality is trying its best, but the system has collapsed,” she added.

“It should have been replaced ages ago. People need to become more self-sufficient and resilient when it comes to water, electricity, roads.”

uMgungundlovu municipal manager Sibusiso Khuzwayo told The Witness the water situation in Winterskloof and Mount Michael had improved considerably, ­adding that Devonshire Lane, Budleigh Road and Wicken Way now had access to water.

“The technical team remain on site to monitor water pressure, burst pipes and airlock, in line with our maintenance plan,” he said. “Emergency supplies are on stand-by at strategic points as previously reported in the unlikely event of service interruption until January 30.”

Penny Wheeler, who lives in Devonshire Lane, one of the areas worst affected by the water crisis, said on Saturday night only half of the houses on her road had water, but by 11.30 am yesterday most of the taps in that area were flowing again.

Dr Dennis Bailey, from Valley Road, ­confirmed they had water on Saturday, but the pressure wasn’t high. “If you don’t have pressure then you can’t use ­machines,” he added.

The Baileys are among many residents counting the cost of the water crisis.

They run a bed and breakfast and guest house and have lost bookings over the past three weekends.

He said it was depressing that Hilton was in such a sad state, adding: “It’s not as if we are a community that doesn’t pay. We pay for electricity and water and still we can’t get the municipality to come to the table and deliver services.”

RESIDENTS in Hilton are urged to contact the Hilton Residents Association to let them know which areas remain without water or have low pressure. This information can be posted on the HRA Facebook page or SMSed to 082 806 1224. Please include the area.

Temporary water stations have been placed in the following areas: Seventh Heaven Boarding Home, Highland Road; corner of Joseph Chamberlain Road and Clift Place; Winterskloof municipal offices corner of Willow Lane and Valley Road; corner Amy Wilson Drive; 7 The Ridge Close; corner of Valley and St Michaels Roads; 22 Cuckoo Lane; 3 Crompton Road.

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