Water woes hit suburbs

2008-04-21 00:00

Claridge and Winterskloof residents are fed up with the inconsistent water supply to their suburbs.

In Claridge there have been problems in the past four months and residents are blaming the uMgungundlovu District Municipality’s water unit for not maintaining the pump in the area, while Winterskloof residents suspect their problems could have something to do with load shedding.

Pravesh Harilall from Claridge says he has spoken to several people from Umgeni Water and uMgungundlovu.

Since Sunday, their water has been a murky light brown colour.

"The water just goes off and comes on again when it pleases. Two weeks ago the water was constantly on and off and it came on for one hour and went off again for the rest of the day. Last week Sunday the same thing occurred. I called people from the district municipality on site, but they did not seem to know what the problem was," said Harilall.

Harilall suspects that the pump is old and in a state of disrepair, with water officials not utilising the pump switch properly when water dam levels are low.

"All they [the water department] do is come out on site and fix nothing and we have to live without water," said an irate Harilall.

Greg Barnes from Winterskloof says that for the past four weeks they have had water cuts from 6.30 to 7.30 am and another water cut from 9 am until 3 pm.

"This is unacceptable. We pay for our water and to have it cut off with no prior warning is inconsiderate. We have told the municipality about this problem several times, but have received no assistance," said Barnes.

Zakhe Gumede, water operations manager at the uMgungundlovu Municipality, said he is aware of the problems. He told The Witness that the water pump is maintained regularly and that people were sent out to the area to check the dirty water. He said that by 12.30 pm yesterday, the water was clean and drinkable.

"The Claridge water pump station is currently serviced by a contracted company. The company has informed us that the pump has a problem with the circuit breakers … ," said Gumede, adding that the Msunduzi Municipality’s electricity department will be called to fix the problem, hopefully by the end of the week.

He said the Winterskloof problem may be due to load shedding, as the area relies on reservoir-pumped water.

"When load shedding occurs the water pumps stop working and it is possible that the water in the reservoir is used up by the residents resulting in a water cut.

"We will have discussions with Umgeni Water to see how we can deal with this problem," he said.

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