Rumors of water cuts untrue

2016-04-06 06:00

THE iLembe District Municipality has been forced to reduce its fleet of hired water tankers from 41 to 20 due to increased financial constraints.

This does not however, translate to there being any further water cuts or restrictions enforced in the district, as many rumors suggest.

District mayor Welcome Mdabe announced this at a press briefing on Monday, 4 April.

He said the tankers had cost the municipality R120 million since July 2014 to-date.

Mdabe said R37 million of that amount had been contributed by the Department of Water and Sanitation with R20 million of that used for hiring tankers, and R3, 9 million for refurbishing water sources and infrastructure. He said the balance was used for drilling boreholes – which in certain areas further increased costs if the topography of the land required deeper drilling.

Mdabe said due to the drought, uMvotshane Dam, in Maphumulo – which was built jointly by the municipality and Umgeni Water at a cost of R200 million – had not had water since its completion which meant the district municipality has been forced to extract water running on the surface, treat it and have tankers distribute it to communities.

He said another challenge that the municipality is faced with is that it had to reduce its revenue collection by 70% due to the drought.

“We lost almost 15 000 jobs in the agricultural sector, 12 000 of those were customers of iLembe therefore those people are now part of the indigent community which means they should be supplied water according to the indigent policy which further adds financial strain on the municipality,” said Mdabe.

He said the recently commissioned Tugela Bulk Water Supply would only service parts of Mandeni, KwaDukuza and eThekwini Municipality starting at the end of May.

As of Monday Hazelmere Dam – which supplies Ndwedwe and the southern parts of KwaDukuza – was at 41% with the 50% curtailment still in place.
He said in Ndwedwe 12 wards have reticulated infrastructure which provides water for households for two weeks in a month meaning tankers have to be used in those areas for the other two weeks.

Since the Mvoti River dried up 22 wards in KwaDukuza – which also have reticulated infrastructure – now depended on tankers and due to population density co-ordinating tankers’ schedule throughout the wards had been a challenge as well, he said.
“Because the Mvoti system has been dry for a prolonged period of time, when some flow entered the system - due to the rains in early January - it burst pipes which meant more costs for repairing them.”

He said in Mandeni six wards do not have reticulated infrastructure which means tankers have to be used to provide water in those areas.

“We have now made an appeal to the cabinet of KwaZulu-Natal as well as the Ministry of Water and Sanitation; we submitted a business plan, a revised one based on the 40mm rains that have fallen over the last two months. We want to get some funding for spring protection as well as drilling boreholes in certain areas where the water table underground is a bit high,” said Mdabe.

He said seeking this financial assistance would augment water supply at least until the end of this year.

Hiring water tankers to supply water to drought stricken areas has cost the municipality R120 million, the subsequent financial strain has forced the municipality to reduced its hired fleet.

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