Drought spell worsens

The Chris Hani District Municipality has warned residents in Komani and surrounding areas to brace themselves for more frequent and stringent water cuts.

This because of the disastrous drought that has reduced the level of the Waterdown Dam, which supplies Komani and Whittlesea to an alarming level.

The level of the Waterdown Dam has gravely decreased to 35% as of August 5 and it could run out of water in a few months, if no adequate rain falls,” said Thobeka Mqamelo, CHDM spokesperson.

She said as a result of the level the town water pressure in Komani had been severely affected which was leading to intermittent cuts in different areas in town.

The low pressure has now prompted intermittent tripping of the McEwan pump station, leading to an occasional stop in pumping. This has had a dire impact on the reservoir levels servicing Komani and Whittlesea,” said Mqamelo.

Much of Komani has already been rationing water, with areas such as Mlungisi and Ezibeleni having water for only a few hours each day. Many have expressed frustration in not being informed by CHDM when they will not have water and they say it is getting worse.

Nkosazana Gaqavu, who lives in Ezibeleni, said they were never told about the water cuts and were puzzled why some people in Ezibeleni were never without water.

We are never told what is going on. We do not know when it will be out and why. Sometimes we are without water for up to two days. The hours we do have water are never the same. Sometimes it can just be an hour,” said Gaqavu.

Penelope Mzamo, a Top Town resident said over the past month they had had unannounced cuts. “You cannot even go to the toilet or switch on the washing machine because it is gone. You do not know when there will be no water because no one informs us.”

Sandringham residents said they have had frequent water cuts in their area for almost a month. In the past two weeks it has been more frequent and is only available for an hour on some days.

Ula Oosthuizen said she had to buy water every day and her water tanks had run dry. “I understand that we are in a drought and there will be cuts, but it is very difficult to understand when we do not know when it is scheduled to be cut or return.”

Mqamelo said Komani had been experiencing water shortages over the last few weeks due to the McEwan pump station which intermittently failed to pump.

“The cuts are caused by both electricity outages and constant tripping. The tripping is a result of low levels at Waterdown. Sandringham and many other areas around Komani were affected.

“The district introduced water cuts in 2016 because of the severe drought. When the Bonkolo Dam ran dry, high lying areas in Komani and Ezibeleni experienced water challenges and water cuts were applied due to insufficient water.

“Water cuts were introduced to ensure that high-lying areas like Unathi Mkefa, Kwa-Themba, Chancele and Zone 2 are also able to have access to water. During water cut periods, our reservoir levels rise and when they are opened all residential areas get access to water.

 “Water cuts do not take more than a day unless there is a mechanical fault,” said Mqamelo. CHDM also urged people to register their cell phone numbers with Customer Care on 0800 100 100 to receive notifications.

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