Plug pulled on Greytown drought water committee

2015-11-11 06:01

NO alarm bells were rung when in December 2014 when the Greytown Gazette reported that Lake Merthley had dropped to 55% and was still dropping.
Greytown’s water provider, Umzinyathi District Municipality took no action while Umvoti Municipality also did not seem too concerned.
By mid-Janaury the level had dropped to 40% and the first “beaches” had appeared.
The Department of Water and Sanitation responded to a request for information stating that once a water storage dropped to 90% volume­, restrictions should be implemented to protect the lake from long-term failure.
Then Umzinyathi announced that the situation was serious so it would cut water from 10pm to 4am, this however, was very erratic and the majority of households still had water during those times.

By February Umzinyathi got serious and called public meetings and threatened heavy penalties if water usage was not cut by 50%.
At the meetings users were given pamphlets on how to save water, and these were also handed out to schools and the public. The water service providers claimed it had met its requirements to inform consumers by calling meetings.
Households would pay penalties if over 15Kls were used in a month.
Then in May, due to a major technical problem, there was suddenly no water flowing from the lake.
This triggered the formation of the Umvoti Water Crisis­ committee made up of local water activists, DWS officials and AB Projects (Umzinyathi consultant).
At the weekly meetings the committee promoted positive and decisive action – installing Jojo tanks and restrictor valves, etc., thus ensuring that householders had access to water, albeit limited.

It is an accepted and known fact that if it had not been for the Umvoti Water Crisis committee residents would be in a much worse situation.

Now the Umvoti Water Crisis committee has been informed by the technical manager Umzinyathi, Thami­ Malunga (even though he had never attended a Greytown meeting), that the committee has been disbanded - meetings will now be held once a week in Dundee involving all towns and villages in the Umzinyathi complex.

No reason has been given for this . And here’s hoping that Umzinyathi’s record of not involving / consulting or informing the residents of Greytown and surrounds will change..

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