New water pipes by 2017

2015-05-20 06:00

IT may take two years, but it will be worth the wait.

That’s the view of chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers’ Association, reacting to news that uMgungundlovu Municipality has budgeted more than R250 million to replace ageing water pipes in Hilton and Merrivale.

Problems with the ailing infrastructure have resulted in continuous water shortages.

In light of the ongoing problems over more than three decades, the ­uMgungundlovu Municipality has set aside R169 million to replace ruptured ­asbestos cement (AC) piping in Hilton and R80 million for the Merrivale and Merrivale Heights areas.

The asbestos pipes will be replaced with unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) piping.

At a recent function, headed by district mayor Yusuf Bhamjee, the municipality launched the two-year Hilton, Merrivale and Merrivale Heights AC Pipe Replacement Project, which will replace 93kms of AC pipeline in Hilton and 29kms in Merrivale.

The main objective of the replacement programme is to reduce the current high level of shortages, primarily due to burst pipes, leakage from pipe joints, old valves and faulty meters as well as to rationalise and relocate the reticulation within public spaces.

The project, which has a two-year deadline, will roll over to other affected areas after it is complete.

“This labour-intensive project will immensely contribute to fewer water interruptions in the lives of our residents and will positively improve our revenue,” Bhamjee said.

Head of the municipality’s technical department Bheki Mbambo said as the project progresses, nobody should be left without water for more than a day, and if there are problems, the municipality will take steps to notify residents and supply water through tankers.

In addition to replacing the main piping, a new 100 kilolitre elevated tank and a pump house will be installed in the Groenkloof reservoir site.

The water infrastructure currently in place loses more than 57% of its water per day, leaving residents’ taps dry.

Hilton resident Steve Matten said his home in Dennis Shepstone Road has had dribbles of water­ for the past three weeks.

“We are extremely frustrated with this. It’s either the pressure is too low, or it’s too high. Some of my neighbours have ­resorted to catching rain water,” Matten said.

Chairperson of the Howick Ratepayers’ Association Mano Naidoo said the job creation of the project is also a key issue.

The project will employ Hilton and Merrivale locals to do the manual ­labour, creating temporary employment.

“This will be two years of an uphill struggle, but there are long-term benefits.

This is long overdue,” Naidoo said

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