Willowfountain water woes go on and on

2018-02-08 13:27
Ayanda Mtolo (red scarf) collects water from a tanker with other residents in Willowfontein on Wednesday. Residents who have been without water for weeks have to rely on municipal water trucks for their daily needs.

Ayanda Mtolo (red scarf) collects water from a tanker with other residents in Willowfontein on Wednesday. Residents who have been without water for weeks have to rely on municipal water trucks for their daily needs. (Vuyelwa Mtolo )

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After a few days of having their water supply switched back on, Willowfountain residents are again without water.

On Wednesday, The Witness saw residents scrambling to try and get water, rushing to the water tanker, many carrying four or more water containers. As soon as the water truck stopped, they pushed and shoved each other to get to a tap and fill their containers.

“Two of my buckets are broken because people stepped on them,” said Andiswa Kunene (27), a local resident.

Explaining the lack of water in Willowfountain, ward councillor Thabiso Molefe said that the area is still under the 15% water restriction due to the persistent drought; this is the same explanation given by the Msunduzi spokesperson Siyabonga Hlongwa in January this year. On Wednesday, numerous attempts to get comment from Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha were unsuccessful.

Willowfountain has been without water for three years, and its residents have had to rely on water tankers. Two weeks ago the residents stood happily by their taps at home as water gushed out, filling their containers. But now, once again, their taps stand dry and rusting.

“Six wards are affected, not just Willowfountain. Only if the reservoir is at 50% can the pumps be switched on to supply the areas with water,” Molefe said.

Ayanda Mtolo (28), an angry local resident said, “I live far from the road where the tanker stops, so getting water is a struggle. Cows drink our water as we can only carry one bucket at a time. I have a child who attends school in the area; she gets a rash almost always because the water from the tankers is dirty.”

Residents said that sometimes there was sand and grass in the water that came out of the tankers.

The initial idea was that the tankers would deliver water to one area a day. But because some areas are bigger than the others, the tankers need to return for a second time to the same area. The result is that the other areas have to wait a few days before they get water.

“We currently don’t have a proper water supply rotation and I can’t say on which particular day people will have water,” said Molefe.

Mavis Dlamini (69), a local resident who suffers from arthritis and walks with a stick, said sometimes the tanker leaves before she can get to it.

“I don’t have money to pay children to carry my buckets from the road to my house. I rely on my neighbour if she is around, but otherwise I stay without water,” she said.

Another frail resident, Rosetta Mkhize (72), explained the difficulties she faces when the tanker comes. “The trucks come in the morning when the children are at school and I’m alone; therefore I have to carry water by myself. As you can see, I’m weak, partially deaf and can hardly walk,” she said.

Residents face other difficulties when the tankers do not come.

“We have to fetch water from a river at the Kwabhakabha area and walk up a steep hill with 20-litre buckets on our heads,” said Thulisile Dlamini (23), a local resident.

Molefe said that they are just relying on water levels to improve and that all they can do, is wait.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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