eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda on Thursday outlined the municipality’s plans to deal with water outages affecting parts of the city.
Some of the outages are long-standing, with “The Mercury” reporting on Thursday that Trenance Park in Verulam had not had water for almost 100 days.
Kaunda said water supply challenges were being experienced in areas of Durban South, including Chatsworth, Shallcross, St Wendolins, Nagina, Northdene, Queensburgh, Welbedacht, uMlazi, Folweni, Nsimbini and Golokodo, and in areas of north Durban, including Ntuzuma, Inanda, Lindelani and KwaMashu, Verulam, Phoenix, Waterloo, Ottawa, Parkgate and Redcliffe, and oThongathi.
He said the water issues were due to, among other things, the damage caused by the recent floods, ageing infrastructure, and vandalism.
Kaunda said in the south, work will be done to fix the 24km Southern Aqueduct which was decommissioned due to major leaks.
He said a detailed project plan has been developed to implement this project within 12 months with R1.2 billion set aside for it.
Regarding northern areas, he said Ntuzuma, Inanda, Lindelani and KwaMashu have been experiencing water challenges as a result of the damage to the pump station after it caught fire.
He said the pump station will be upgraded at a cost of R35 million with the project to begin in March.
On the issues with Verulam, oThongathi and Phoenix, Kaunda said the water outages were due to the Northern Aqueduct not performing optimally.
He said various interventions were being implemented, which included checking possible leaks and blockages on the 32km-long trunk main, replacing air valves in the trunk main and a changeover of the bulk supply.
“These interventions are expected to be completed in the second week of February.”
A meeting with Verulam and Phoenix residents will be held on Saturday at Shastri Park Community Hall at 4pm.
On oThongathi issues, Kaunda said the municipality had restored water through an alternate supply from the oThongathi Water Treatment Works to the Belvedere Reservoir to supply the oThongathi South Reservoir.
“This is a temporary measure while our teams are fixing the Metcalf Bulk Pipeline and another water pipeline that carries water from the oThongathi South Reservoir, which were washed away by the recent floods.”
In the KwaXimba area, demand was exceeding supply and the municipality has begun with the upgrade of the trunk main from Cato Ridge
Reservoir to the KwaXimba area. Kaunda said that since the number of communities experiencing water challenges has increased, the number of water tankers would be increased.
Last year, the municipality procured 55 new water tankers, and 100 new additional water tankers will be delivered before the end of May, he said.
Asked about people saying they got sick after drinking tanker water, the head of the City’s Water and Sanitation Unit, Ednick Msweli, said the City would have to investigate and would require the tanker numbers.
“We do test the water that we supply through water tankers.”
Speaking to “The Mercury” on Thursday, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu said he had met north Durban residents from Verulam, Phoenix and oThongathi, who had explained their frustrations with dealing with the water outages.
He said while the eThekwini Municipality had the responsibility to provide quality, clean and reliable water to the people, the department would offer support.
He said eThekwini needed a substantial rebuild programme and it needed to build better.
“The first level is how do we get clean water to everybody? And the next step is to build resilience to the system – eThekwini needs to rebuild and build better.”
Mchunu said director-general Sean Phillips and his team would be meeting with the eThekwini municipal manager and uMngeni-uThukela Water today to discuss the water challenges.