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Countdown to water rationing

Published Jun 21, 2022


Durban - Large areas of the eThekwini Municipality face up to a year of water rationing, mayor Mxolisi Kaunda confirmed last week.

Areas fed by the Durban Heights Treatment Works will be turned off for a maximum of four hours daily, starting on Monday.

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“This has been necessary due to reduced water supplies,” he said.

“This shortfall has been caused by Umgeni Water being unable to receive adequate raw water from Nagle Dam because of extensive damage to two raw water pipelines in the April 2022 heavy rainfall, and will remain for the next 10 – 12 months.”

Kaunda said the city would do its best to minimise impact and that residents should check updates on the city’s social media platforms.

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“People will be able to have water in the morning before they go to work or school. They will also be able to have water for cooking when they return home in the evening,” the mayor said.

“Currently, we are distributing posters and loud hailing in all affected areas.”

He also urged residents to use water sparingly, not to stockpile and not to resort to violent protests.

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“According to a work schedule provided to Umgeni Water by the appointed contractor, repairs are expected to be completed by June 2023.”

Elaborating on the repair work, Kaunda said the KwaZulu-Natal Division of the High Court, Pietermaritzburg, had accepted a consent order initiated by Umgeni Water that now opened the way for repair work on Reservoir 3 at the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant to be undertaken.

“If all goes according to schedule, the work on Reservoir 3 will be completed by November 2022, after which 340 million litres of storage space will become available.”

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He said the contractor appointed to repair the two damaged pipelines that convey raw water from Nagle Dam to the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant had submitted a draft work programme to Umgeni Water. Work is expected to begin next week.

“The draft work schedule outlines how the project will be implemented to bring the two raw water pipelines back to functionality.

“Both pipelines require extensive work. Sections of the pipelines, some hundreds of metres in length, will have to be redesigned and new sections connected.

“This illustrates, in stark reality, the severity of the damage and explains why full restoration is expected to be 10-12 months.

“To effectively manage this shortfall so that affected areas have access to some water for some parts of the day, eThekwini has introduced a system of rotational supply so that distribution is balanced on an equitable basis. This will remain in place until repairs of the pipelines are completed.”

Kaunda said water tankers would not be supplied to areas affected by rationing as they were to places suffering outages.

He urged residents to report leakages.

View the rationing schedule at

The Independent on Saturday