Chatsworth residents hijack water tankers as taps run dry for days
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Durban - Anger in Chatsworth has reached fever pitch as the area has been without water for more than three days, with residents now resorting to hijacking water tankers supplying water to other nearby communities.
The municipality yesterday revealed that broken water pumps were among the reasons behind the water disruptions in some western and southern parts of Durban. The municipality said it had encountered technical challenges regarding the operations of Northdene 3 pump station.
“It was discovered that all three available pumps at Northdene 3 pump station have failed, resulting in no water being pumped to all downstream reservoirs,” said the municipality in a statement.
Welbedacht ward councillor Sbusiso Mpanza said the people’s frustration levels had grown.
Mpanza confirmed that there were some residents who were still without water, adding that more than 20 water tankers were urgently required to meet the demand.
“Yesterday (Saturday), we received 20 water tankers and still that was not enough. This is a crisis and the situation is getting worse day by day,” he said.
Mpanza also called on the community to stop blocking roads to prevent water tankers from supplying water to other areas that were in need.
“People are now hostile and they are putting rocks on the roads just so they can have water tankers to themselves. We understand that they need water, but this will bring war among the community - they will end up fighting over water,” said Mpanza.
According to Mpanza, residents were unable to do essential tasks such as cooking or bathing and did not have water to drink.
“The community is frustrated and they need water. We are still facing a pandemic and water is essential to curb the spread of the virus.”
Shallcross ward councillor Previn Vedan said they had also experienced some challenges that resulted in tankers not reaching all areas.
According to Vedan, residents arrived at water tanker dispatching sites and refused to let tankers move out to the community. He said at the Chatsworth Stadium, there were reports that some residents slashed the tyre of a tanker.
He said that tankers were also blocked in on some streets in Chatsworth. “Due to panic caused by multiple messages circulating, residents fill multiple buckets of waters and this results in the tankers constantly leaving the community to be refilled and the return time results in delays.”
He said that locations of water tankers were being circulated on social media and residents from other areas were arriving where the tankers were which resulted in some residents not being serviced.
The affected reservoirs include Shallcross, Harinagar, Chatsworth 4, Klaarwater, Birch Road, St Wendolin’s Pumps, Washington Heights and Intake road reservoirs.
The city said the areas that would experience prolonged water outages include parts of Chatsworth, Savannah Park, Welbedacht East and West, Montford, Risecliff, Arena Park, Moorton, Crossmoor, Woodhurst, Luganda, Demat, parts of Mariannridge, parts of Queensburgh, Nirvana Hills, Enkoseleni and Mawelele.
The municipality said the processes to procure the required equipment to fix the broken pump stations were under way.
However, said the city, the lead time to commence with repair work at the pump stations was three to four weeks.
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said that it was suspected that there had been cable theft at the pump station and the matter was being investigated.
Mayisela said water tankers were being dispatched to the affected communities. “Yes, we do acknowledge that we may not assist everyone at the same time, however, we appeal to people to be patient. In those lines where they (queue to) collect water, we also appeal that they must observe social distance as we are still in the midst of the pandemic,” said Mayisela.