Sweeping water interruptions affected thousands of locals last week. It started when a burst pipe was reported at the Archie Rodell Water Treatment Plant on October 28.
Uthukela District Municipality’s plumbing team that responded on Monday morning identified it as a burst to the ‘rising main’ at the plant.
The burst was repaired and water was restored however, this was short lived when the pipe burst again the following evening.
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“Once again the uThukela District Municipality Plumbing Team responded and due to the dynamics, the pipe was fixed on Tuesday afternoon. Owing to the two bursts occurring in a very short space of time, the entire system ran out of water,” said Uthukela District Municipality Mayor Simphiwe Mazibuko.
The district municipality reports that while lower lying areas in Estcourt started receiving water almost immediately and other areas a day later, the higher lying areas and parts of Forderville had their water restored by Friday morning.
Mr Mazibuko explains the workings of the water system after the reservoir runs dry: “When a water reticulation infrastructure system runs out of water, the challenges of air locks, bleeding and pressurising the system is not unusual at all. These factors can only be addressed over a period of time and not instantly. Hence, the delay in some areas.”
Frustration peaked when widespread water interruptions were experienced. Schools in Forderville were closed, water tanker distributions were erratic and in some instances non-existent and overall service delivery from the water supplier came into question.
Some residents accused the municipality an ‘intentionally orchestrating’ water interruptions. Mr Mazibuko calls this a ‘gross misinterpretation’, emphasising that the district municipality is in the business of supplying water to communities as opposed to what it was accused of.
“We would also like to convey to our consumers that a burst pipe is unforeseen, unpredictable, unplanned and can happen at any point in time. Suffice to say that the uThukela District Municipality immediately responds to the challenges,” concluded Mr Mazibuko.