Residents protest after taps dry for months

Residents of Trenance Park in Verulam took to the streets after not having drinking water for months. | Facebook

Residents of Trenance Park in Verulam took to the streets after not having drinking water for months. | Facebook

Published Jan 7, 2024


Durban — After months without drinking water, angry Trenance Park residents took to the streets of Verulam in protest.

Residents demanded urgent action from eThekwini Municipality to remedy the situation.

Dravina Ramai, chairperson of Trenance Park New Phase Civic Association, said this week that some residents had been without water for close to 80 days.

“Those living in elevated areas have been most affected. It has been extremely frustrating. For many, the entire festive season was without water or had an intermittent supply. From December 30 there was no water at all until a sporadic supply from Friday. And this was only after residents voiced their anger,” said Ramai.

She said Trenance Park New Phase had been experiencing water problems since 2017, when pipelines were diverted to accommodate new developments.

Verulam Water Crisis Committee spokesperson Roshan Lil-Ruthan said they stood in solidarity with the protesters.

“It is unacceptable for any individual or community to be denied this basic human necessity. We urge municipal officials to take immediate and decisive action to rectify this dire situation.

“Access to clean drinking water is a fundamental human right, and the community’s demands for equitable and sustained access must be addressed with urgency. It is imperative that local government prioritise the well-being and basic needs of its constituents,” said Lil-Ruthan.

He said they visited the Mountview Reservoir and were astounded to find that the two pumps were offline and malfunctioning. This had been reported to eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) management that morning, but a technician was only on site late that afternoon.

“We urge all relevant stakeholders to come together and work towards a swift and permanent resolution to this issue. The municipality has to ensure that valves are replaced and the major pump to Mountview is repaired to sustain the reservoir.

“Water tankers are scarce and how do you expect the elderly and disabled to carry water from tankers? An 84-year-old woman recently slipped and fell and broke her shoulder while going to fetch water,” he said.

eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said EWS had developed a plan of action to address water supply issues affecting Verulam and surrounding areas. “Interventions being implemented include analysing the current system to increase the water flow to the Mountview Reservoir.

“Technical teams will be stabilising the Mountview Reservoir zone first, and during that time, water supply to dependent reservoirs ... will be curtailed. Thereafter, Trenance 1 and 3 Reservoir Zones will be stabilised.

“Immediate relief for the affected areas will be provided through water tankers. Thirty water tankers have been allocated to the region and the distribution of water to affected communities will be co-ordinated through ward councillors,” said Sisilana.

Sunday Tribune