Residents in areas served by the Durban Heights water treatment plant will face water rationing starting Monday that could last up to a year as KwaZulu-Natal continues to suffer from water shortages following extensive flooding in April.
On Thursday, the municipality informed eThekwini that water rationing has become necessary due to the reduced water supply from the facility.
The shortage will persist for the next 10 to 12 months as Umgeni Water is unable to obtain sufficient raw water from the Nagle Dam after two raw water mains were damaged during the floods.
“While Umgeni Water continues to make progress in providing eThekwini with the full contracted amounts of drinking water , a deficit will remain and will be eliminated when the damaged pipelines are repaired and put back into service en,” said the municipality and Umgeni Water.
Repairs to the pipes are expected to be completed by June 2023.
Two pipelines were damaged by the floods in Wushini, Inanda. This and two other pipelines transport raw water to the water treatment plant in Durban Heights. The two undamaged pipelines continue to supply water to the facility.
There is now a deficit in the facility’s raw water supply and consequent reduced production and supply of drinking water (potable water). The shortage averages between 40 million and 50 million liters per day.
“To effectively manage this shortage, so that affected areas have access to water for some parts of the day, eThekwini has implemented a system of Rotational supply introduced to ensure balanced distribution on an equitable basis. This will remain in place until repairs to the pipelines are complete.”
Umgeni Water said the acceptance of a consent order by the Pietermaritzburg Superior Court paved the way for repair work on Reservoir 3 at the Durban Heights plant leveled.
“If all goes according to plan, work on reservoir three will be completed by November 2022, after which 340 million liters of storage space will be available.”
The contractor to repair the two damaged pipelines has been ordered and is scheduled to start work next week.
The two companies asked for cooperation and support from all parties involved “to ensure that the consumers supplied by some water is available from reservoirs fed by the Durban Heights Water Treatment Plant.”
To demonstrate the seriousness of the water crisis management, at the request of the Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu set up a “War Room”.
“The War Room is managed by eThekwini Water and Sanitation and has been operational since April. It meets daily to receive progress reports, monitor progress and take action as necessary to ensure access to water is available and improved.”
In its eight weeks of existence, “the War Room oversees the deployment of vitally needed water tankers, the installation of static water tanks in several areas, and the facilitation of allocation of funds for urgent restoration work.”
“The War Room has approved the expansion of a strategy that will ensure that affected communities have access to water through a rotating supply system. This will be implemented starting Monday 20th June and will anchor the even distribution of available water on an on and off basis rotating from one to the other.
“Because water rationing is a planned event, tanker will not be sent to cover the rationing period They will only be sent to areas where there are power cuts, as opposed to rationing.”
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