Durban — IFP councillors stood their ground to get answers from eThekwini Water and Sanitation head Ednick Msweli on the ongoing water crisis affecting northern eThekwini areas.
IFP eThekwini councillor Dr Jonathan Annipen shared a report back from an engagement between Annipen and Msweli held on Monday, January 29.
Annipen said the IFP in Phoenix had called for a meeting with Msweli. The meeting was initially scheduled for last week but Msweli’s office postponed the meeting. A new date was given as Monday but attempts were made by Msweli’s office to postpone the meeting again but councillors Annipen and Jane Naidoo refused to leave the office until they had been given an audience with Msweli.
Annipen shared several outcomes from the meeting:
1. The previous reports from eThekwini’s water officials, who are based in the north, that there is a water shortage, are misleading and untrue. Msweli confirmed that there has been an increase in the supply of water from Durban Heights from 300 megalitres to 340 megalitres.
2. The interruptions in the water supply seemed to have been exacerbated after Umgeni Water undertook maintenance of the Northern Aqueduct, and all efforts have been concluded to determine if any leaks are causing the reduction in supply. There are no indications of leaks.
3. The inspection did reveal that about 75 air pressure valves required maintenance and needed to be replaced. This suggests that the water is not filtering through to the reservoirs because of the build-up of air in the line. As of Friday, January 26, 65 new valves have been procured and received by the city, and installation of these valves is already under way.
4. The current projection is that this exercise will be completed by February 15. However, there will be occasions when a planned shutdown will have to be initiated. This means that the line will have to be drained, and other exercises will have to be undertaken to replace the balance of the valves. The process to rebuild storage capacity after that could take a further two weeks. This should not impact too much on supply, but it should be expected that there could be some delays post the February 15th D-Day.
5. A delegation of “community influencers” will meet water and sanitation officials in the coming days to establish a line of communication so that correct and authenticated information is disseminated to communities.
6. The IFP suggested the implementation of a planned “water-shedding schedule” in the meantime to help mitigate against these odd times of water cuts. The matter is being considered.
7. Tanker services that have been in circulation are done so through the elected ward councillors and will continue in this pattern and communities that experience difficulties are encouraged to express their challenges via the relevant channels.
WhatsApp your views on this story at 071 485 7995.