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eThekwini sets up 'war room' to tackle water disruptions

The eThekwini municipality will step up efforts to deal with ongoing water disruptions. Stock image.
The eThekwini municipality will step up efforts to deal with ongoing water disruptions. Stock image.
Image: 123rf.com/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer

The mayor of eThekwini, Mxolisi Kaunda, has unveiled a new plan to address ongoing disruptions to the city's water supply. 

Kaunda has instructed city manager Sipho Nzuza to establish a "war room" to focus on restoring water to affected communities. 

"The war room will meet daily to track progress of the implementation of water projects throughout the city," he said, adding that eThekwini officials would meet communities in affected areas this week.

In recent weeks eThekwini has been experiencing water shortages in a number of areas, which has resulted in violent public protests.

Kaunda said aside from the fact that there are areas of the city that experience intermittent water supply due to ageing infrastructure and the demands of a growing population, particularly in rural areas, the situation has been worsened by load-shedding and cable theft.

“We have asked officials to work around the clock to ensure that this challenge is addressed. A medium- to long-term plan has been developed, which includes procurement of standby generators and the upgrading of infrastructure."

He said the city would work closely with Umgeni Water to tackle the problem.

"We are currently installing standby generators, particularly in pump stations that supply Adams [Mission] and Mbumbulu.

"In areas such as Ntuzuma, which have large pump stations, we are unable to use standby generators. However, the municipality is intervening by commissioning the Western Aqueduct project, which is expected to be completed by the end of March."

As a temporary measure, Kaunda said, the city increased the number of water tankers delivering water to communities on regular basis.

“We appeal to community members to desist from attacking these trucks as it puts the lives of drivers at risk,” he added.

"Our law enforcement officers are doing their best to escort these trucks when they deliver water to affected communities."