No water and no power angers residents
Durban - A number of Durban residents have not only been left in the dark with load shedding, but their taps are also running dry.
Since last Saturday, families in various parts of the city have been left either without water or an intermittent supply.
Magen Munswami, 51, said he has had no water since last Sunday at his home in Trenance Park, Verulam.
“I had to fetch water from family in Phoenix. But we cannot continue asking people for water as they also have a water bill to pay. When the water tankers do come around, the water is finished just on the main roads before it enters the smaller, inside roads.
“How are we expected to live, especially during these times with the pandemic and (when) hygiene is of such importance? We need water to drink, bath, wash clothes and for use of the toilet. I have tried calling the municipality for answers but have had no joy,” said Munswami.
Earlier this week, the City issued a public notice saying there were water supply interruptions in the city due to intense load shedding by Eskom.
“Following Eskom’s implementation of stage 2 load shedding as of last week, March 11, this has resulted in interruptions to power supply in major bulk treatment works and several strategic installations within the city. This matter has been further exacerbated by the lack of storage at Durban Heights treatment works as its major storage reservoir is currently undergoing rehabilitation.
“eThekwini Municipality together with Umgeni Water are hard at work to ensure that certain water pump stations are exempted from load shedding.”
It said, as a result, Umlazi 2 System, Verulam System, Ntuzuma 2 System and Pinetown South System were among the outer lying areas adversely affected with water outages.
Tammy Govender, who lives on Inanda Road, near Trenance Park, said she had not had water since last Saturday. “Now the City’s excuse is load shedding. We have had intermittent supply of water since 2019. There have been weeks that we have not had water. We were previously told there was a problem at the reservoir.
“When the water tankers do come, people swarm around them. You stand no chance of getting water. Also, there is no social distancing and people without masks, making it extremely unsafe during these times,” said Govender. She said they were told restoration of the pumps at the reservoir would be completed a year ago.
“It got moved again. Every time the deadline approaches the date gets changed. People living in Tea Estate nearby have not had water since 2019,” she said.
Daisy Gobind, 49, of Trenance Park, said she had no water to cook food. “We have been buying take-out since the water stopped on Sunday. We have no water to cook or wash dishes.
“We have been collecting water from my future son-in-law’s family in Everest Heights, but that is used for the toilet and bathing. When we call the municipality, they blame it on load shedding that we have no water. The past week has been very difficult,” said Gobind.
Chris Langa, the PR councillor for Verulam, said the most-affected areas in his region were Trenance Park and Hilltop. “The City is lying to the community. They sometimes claim the problem is with Umgeni Water and now it’s due to load shedding. There are some parts who have not had water for two weeks and load shedding only started last week. People can’t live without a basic necessity like water,” said Langa.
Venie Brijrajh, of Queensburgh, said since last weekend they had an intermittent supply of water. “Initially the municipality said it was due to faulty pumps, but now it’s load shedding. There is no proper feedback. We have an old-age home in the neighbourhood who are also without water. We, the residents, have been purchasing water for ourselves and dropping off at the old-age home,” said Brijrajh.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said their teams were currently working tirelessly to ensure that residents receive water at all affected areas. “Water tankers have been sent to affected areas. We also ask that residents who did not receive water from tankers urgently report this to their councillor so that they can be assisted,” he said.
In January last year when the Sunday Tribune reported on water problems in Verulam, the municipality said there was a problem with the pipeline which they were addressing. “Trenance Park is being supplied by a tower with one pipeline. There is a project in place to lay another pipe,” Mayisela told the Sunday Tribune at the time.
This week, he said phase 1 of the water project was completed in February, and some of the community were already benefiting from that water pipeline. “The second phase will be completed and commissioned by end of March or early April 2021. We are proud of the work we have managed to get done so far and we envision that the whole community will benefit from the project by the end of this month.”
Mayisela said residents who had been without water would be advised in due course as to when their water would be restored.
A major challenge was that the source (Durban Heights) was empty, he added. “It has started recovering and both Trenance 1 and Trenance 3 reservoirs have now reached 50% capacity. We anticipate to have water restored latest by Monday midday when the system has fully recovered,” he said.
Mayisela said the City was working on exempting both critical bulk facilities from load shedding, adding: “Investigations are under way to exempt Wiggins Treatment Works.”