This was according to Emnambithi-Ladysmith Municipality spokesperson Jabulani Mkhonza. He said this was proposed by Umgeni Water as a solution to the problems the community of Ekuvukeni in Ladysmith was experiencing.
Ladysmith has been faced with water shortages since 2017 as a result of the 2015 drought. Ekuvukeni’s water comes from the Olifantskop Dam, which dried up at the beginning of February, resulting in the shutdown of a water treatment works. Communities reliant on that plant had no water.
Recent rains had seen the dam gain in its levels to an extent that it is able to supply water to the community by way of rotational water restriction.
Essential services - such as schools, post offices and the courts - have not been functional since January, with the community refusing to allow these to operate until their grievances have been addressed, and President Cyril Ramaphosa came to address them.
Mkhonza said a number of solutions were put forward at a meeting of the municipality, representatives of the community as well as the departments of Human Settlements and Education.
“These included that those who had their homes completely or partially destroyed by storms in December would have these repaired, and those that were completely destroyed would be rebuilt by Human Settlements.”
Mkhonza said Olifantskop Dam was unable to meet the demands of the population, which had grown drastically.
In a bid to supplement the water supply for Ekuvukeni, Umgeni would install reproduction boreholes.
“After purification at the reservoir, this water will then be available from taps, giving residents what they have been fighting for - a 24-hour water supply like they had before,” he said.
Mkhonza said community representatives were adamant that services would remain non-operational until Ramaphosa came to address them, despite solutions being offered.
Meanwhile, Umgeni water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said that next month the utility and the Water and Sanitation Department would assess the amount of water available in the Mgeni System, and if measures were needed to reduce consumption.