Plan to protect tanks

2016-07-08 09:45
Pressure Die Castings production manager Ash Roopchand and director Graham Smith show off one of their 15?000-litre water storage tanks at their Willowton Road plant.

Pressure Die Castings production manager Ash Roopchand and director Graham Smith show off one of their 15?000-litre water storage tanks at their Willowton Road plant. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - A KZN municipality has come up with a novel way to prevent the theft and vandalism of water tanks in drought-stricken Greytown.

Nzamo Lambethe, a resident of the area, will be patrolling the tanks around Greytown and surrounding areas, to advise people on how to use the water sparingly and to prevent further vandalism or theft of the tanks.

The town’s taps ran dry three weeks ago following the Umvoti Local Municipality and the Umzinyathi District Municipality’s decision to only supply water to residents through water tanks.

With the province in the grip of a severe drought, the town’s main source of water, Lake Merthley, has had water levels drop to below 20% since late last year, causing authorities to take drastic measures to conserve water.

The Witness reported on Monday that Greytown was in the grips of a water war, with “every man for himself” as tanks have been stolen, vandalised and emptied.

Residents are having to draw water from tanks, strategically placed around the town and its surrounding areas, until the water project, Phase Two, is completed later this month.

The project would see a reservoir and pump station being set up, near nine bore­holes, to supply the town.

Umvoti Water’s Brian Walker said yesterday that a decision was made yesterday morning that a patroller would be employed to police the tanks and how much was being drawn by residents.

“The function of the patroller will be to ensure that people do not drive up to the tanks with 30 buckets and abuse the water,” said Walker.

“The patroller will also make sure that people are getting water from the tanks situated in their residential areas and to educate people on the importance of water.”

Said Lambethe: “Patrolling the tanks is not just a job to me. It is something that needs to be done.

“People need to realise how precious water is and that it is a resource that no-one can live without.”

Lambethe said Walker had trained him in how to approach people who were overdrawing water from the tanks and speak to them about the consequences.

“So far, I have not run into any trouble. When I have spoken to people they seem to appreciate that I am trying to help.”

He said he had worked for the Department of Social Development and was well known by the community.

“I am doing this alone and I know it will be difficult but I think it helps that people know me.”

Walker said Lambethe was important in helping the community to manage water and hoped he would be respected by the residents.

Requests for comment from Umzin­yathi Municipality and Umvoti Municipality had not been received at the time of going to print yesterday afternoon.

• chelsea.pieterse@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  water
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