City in daily water juggle

2016-05-25 10:49

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Pietermaritzburg - Prestbury residents were fuming on Tuesday as they were once again left without water.

In recent weeks the suburb has experienced multiple water outages as a consequence of the drought and the fact that Umgeni Water has cut their supply to the city by 15%.

The Witness asked head of water services for Msunduzi municipality Brenden Sivparsad to explain why the suburb sometimes seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to water supply.

Sivparsad said upper Prestbury and upper Napierville were fed directly out of the Balancing reservoir owned by Umgeni Water, which is also a main infeed for many other large areas in Pietermaritzburg and supplies other secondary reservoirs. (See graphic.)

Sivparsad explained that due to gravity, when the level of the reservoir starts dropping — because of Umgeni Water supplying 15% less water in terms of the drought water restrictions — the highest area on the system goes without water first. This means that Upper Prestbury and Upper Napierville, the highest areas fed by the Balancing reservoir, also are the last to get water at times when the reservoir level has depleted. “Everything works on pressure, gravity and flow rates, bearing in mind that the main line from Umgeni Water also supplies Richmond, Thornville and Durban,” he said.

He said the reservoir level needed to be at a minimum of around 15% for all of Prestbury to have water. Yesterday, the level dropped to below four percent.

“We’re trying to pick up the reservoir and we have asked Umgeni Water to increase the inflow into Balancing reservoir, whilst simultaneously closing off other areas to create storage and ultimately level the system,” said Sivparsad.

He said if the water level in Balancing reservoir drops, “we close downstream reservoirs that are not critically low to pick up the Balancing reservoir level”.

“It’s a juggling act that is not automatic and requires staff to manually shut or open valves. It’s a very important leg [in the water reticulation system] and that’s why upper Prestbury and upper Napierville become such a volatile supply area because they are receiving water directly from a core reservoir which also feeds sub reservoirs.” Sivparsad said the problem was not because some people were using too much water.


Sivparsad said the Balancing reservoir supplies the following reservoirs and break pressure tanks directly — secondary reservoirs and (BPTs) which act as storage facilities and pressure dissipators are in brackets:

• Masons Reservoir: (Neville Road BPT and Langenhoven BPT), Upper CBD, Mayors Walk, Prestbury, Napierville

• Hathorns Reservoir: Woodlands, old Northdale, Allandale, Newholmes, Samanaville, Raisethorpe, Daymed Hospital, Northdale Hospital, Woodlands industries (Ramsay Engineering, etc), Willowton industries (Natal Witness Publishing, Albany, etc)

  • Shortts Retreat, Mkondeni, Cleland, Bisley, Westgate, Oribi Village, Scottsville, Pelham, and

• Masons Industrial: Edendale Hospital, Camps Drift, Edendale Road industries (Hulamin, Afrox, etcetera)

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water

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