Residents wary of further water restrictions

2019-06-19 06:01
photo: suppliedA resident from Mbuba collects springwater in the morning.

photo: suppliedA resident from Mbuba collects springwater in the morning.

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THE continuous water leakages from ageing pipes in Greytown, and water shortages in surrounding areas has raised fears among the community that water restrictions will be on the cards this winter.

Burst water pipes in town and recent water shortages prompted residents to appeal to Umzinyathi District Municipality to repair the ageing infrastructure with new plastic water pipes.

Residents in Ward 14 also said a local borehole and water taps that were installed a few years ago are not working.

“There was a water tanker that was supplying water to the community and the Phakwe area. From last year, the water tanker stopped supplying water to the community. I am concerned as I am running short of the rain water that I kept in my Jojo tanks from last year,” said one resident.

Greytown residents fear that water restrictions will be imposed again should the municipality fail to fix the damaged water pipes. For the past four years, Greytown has experienced massive drought that forced the municipality to impose restrictions, that were only lifted recently.

“Since the beginning of the winter season, Lake Merthley is not overflowing anymore. We believe that it is due to the water wastage caused by the burst pipes that are not fixed in town,” said a concerned resident.

Umzinyathi District Municipality is adamant that water pipes burst because Greytown has been on water restrictions for a long period] with Umzinyathi District Communications Manager Nkanyiso Cebekhulu saying: “We have experienced numerous burst pipes in Greytown and Nhlalakahle, [this is due to] the fact that we had restrictions for a very long period due to drought impact.

“We have had teams on site attending the automated adjustment of various pressure reducing valves for the last four weeks however township network-lines are currently problematic. Our team has been instructed to attend to these matters.”

Cebekhulu said Umvoti Municipality has allocated four water tankers to the Ngome area: “We were at Ngome, following the recent community protest on May 27, with both the speakers present from Umzinyathi District and Umvoti Municipality where the community raised concerns about service delivery.

“Our procedure is that the district municipality dispatches a water tanker with the ward councillor’s details so that the ward councillor can send the driver with one of his/her ward committee [members] who will assist the driver to ensure that all villages are covered. Considering the limited number of water tankers, not everyone will be covered but a ward committee member should assist in the process of water supply.

“It must be noted that the district has purchased 38 generators and that the appointed service provider is busy with the switching over from old to new generators, which includes the refitting of new generators in all our production borehole schemes throughout the district. As a result, one generator in Ngome is also affected. The Ngome generator has been connected and pumping of water is now normal.

“Water tankers are at the discretion of ward councillors. The ward councillor calls when water is distributed to the ward, we did emphasise that in the presence of councillor [Zwakushiwo] Ndlovu.”

Residents in Mbuba, on the outskirts of Greytown, said they have to wake up before dawn to fetch water from a spring.

The Gazette contacted Ward Councillor Musa Zondi for comment.

“We used to have a water tanker that was supplying the community with water. Recently, we have not seen it coming to our area,” Zondi said, adding that a forum was due to sit with the management of Umzinyathi District and local leadership in a bid to bring about a solution to the water crisis.

Cebekhulu explained: “Mbuba is currently [in the process of replacing a generator as part of the] production borehole scheme. One also has to mention the fact that, during the replacement, electrical cables were stolen. The municipality is in the process of procuring new cables, their estimated arrival and installation is June 30.”

Cebekhulu said the municipality will launch an investigation to find out why the residents of Msengeni area in Ward 14 are not getting water. “This matter will be investigated as the municipality is not aware of this matter,” he said.

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