Borrowed pump too damp to help restore water supply in Covid-19 hotspot

Nivashni Nair Senior reporter
A borrowed pump was too damp to help restore the water supply in Durban's southern areas.
A borrowed pump was too damp to help restore the water supply in Durban's southern areas.
Image: supplied

A pump borrowed from Umgeni Water to restore the water supply in Durban’s southern areas was too damp to operate.

DA eThekwini caucus leader Nicole Graham said the pump had been modified and fitted at Northdene but was not getting into the electrical range it needed to operate as it was damp.

“It is thought it might be damp as it has not been used for some time. It is being regularly heated to try and dry it and rechecked to see if it can be put on,” she said.

Graham said the eThekwini municipality was in the process of acquiring a pump from Mondi.

The most affected area, Chatsworth, which is also a Covid-19 hotspot, entered its fifth day without water on Tuesday after a pump at Northdene malfunctioned.

The eThekwini municipality did not respond to a request for comment about the borrowed pump.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the municipality said the water supply would be restored later in the day “if everything went according to plan”.

It posted that it had commissioned a cross-connection from Hocking reservoir to the Washington Heights reservoir to enable water supply to KwaSanti, Luganda, Savannah Park and other areas south of Durban.

This prompted Chatsworth residents to criticise the municipality for ignoring their plight.

On Monday Graham said for the water supply to be restored in Chatsworth and Queensburgh, the pump needed to work.

“The three reservoirs that are filling were done by backfilling from another reservoir so some areas further west (KwaSanti, Nagina and others) will start getting water soon but not via the pump station. The greater Chatsworth and Queensburgh area need the pump to work,” she said.

The municipality said 94 water tanks were servicing the area, but residents claimed the vehicles were not covering most of the area.

The community was relying on religious organisations, civil society and citizens from other areas to donate water to them.

“I have explained to the head of water, Ednick Msweli, that the tanker situation is chaos on the ground and many haven’t been seen at all or only once. I have asked that we have an urgent meeting with all affected ward councillors where they can submit proper, fair schedules to be followed. Metro police must assist in enforcing this,” Graham said.  

“My team have repeatedly had vehicles not show up, go to fill and return and be ‘hijacked’ and rerouted.” 


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