Water restored in most parts of Umhlanga and Durban North

26 September 2023 - 14:36
By Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Hotels and businesses say tourists were anxious about staying in an area without water and many cancelled their long weekend plans. File photo.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU Hotels and businesses say tourists were anxious about staying in an area without water and many cancelled their long weekend plans. File photo.

Water has been partially restored in the Umhlanga and Durban North areas after residents and businesses experienced outages for up to nine days.

According to residents water was restored in most areas on Monday, while some are still waiting, especially in the upper parts of areas.

“It has been a very frustrating week. Residents and businesses have been struggling to get water. We have elderly people and pensioners who were forced to walk distances with buckets and bottles to get water from tankers, which was a disaster.

“We have been told an error has been fixed and reservoirs are now full. That is why many residents have water now while others will have it once the water pressure has increased,” said Umhlanga Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association chairperson Terri MacLarty.

MacLarty said the outages inconvenienced not only residents but businesses during the long weekend, especially the tourism and hospitality industries.

Water supplies were interrupted due to low pressure in parts of the main northern aqueduct pipeline. 

According to the city, the fault has affected domestic and business customers in Durban North, Redhill, Beachway, Umgeni Park, Athlone, Japanese Gardens, Riverside, Beachway, Riverside, Glen Anil, Glen Hill, Umhlanga, Blackburn Road, Parkhill, parts of Effingham, La Lucia, Sunningdale, Glenashley, Somerset Park and La Lucia Ridge.

MacLarty told TimesLIVE the city would have to work hard to ensure such a crisis is avoided in the future. 

Ward councillor Nicole Bollman said some schools did not open their gates on Friday and Tuesday due to water outages.

Bollman said with her ward dominated by the hospitality industry and a central spot for tourism in the area, the water outage affected businesses badly. 

“It was a long weekend and this has definitely affected businesses’ revenue collection and profitmaking. Businesses were forced to spend money on buying water to sustain themselves, and not all were able to do that. It was a disaster, but we have turned the corner,” she said.

On Tuesday, the eThekwini municipality said the reservoirs’ levels are improving as the inflow supply and pressure in the northern aqueduct are sustaining.

City spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said most households are receiving water though the system is still building up to the required levels.

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“During an inspection of the 27km pipeline, technical teams discovered an air valve was tampered with and another valve was vandalised. These valves have been repaired by the municipality and a case of sabotage was opened at the Greenwood Park police station. The affected reservoirs are expected to take at least two days to return to normal levels. Residents are requested to use water sparingly to prevent reservoirs from running empty as this may prolong the recovery period,” said Sisilana.

Meanwhile the city said it had a “bumper” Heritage Day long weekend.

The city hosted the Durban Business Fair, the Durban Fashion Fair and the national Heritage Day celebration led by deputy president Paul Mashatile in KwaMashu on Sunday.

It said events resulted in a 65% occupancy rate and an estimated R120m was spent.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium was announced as the venue to host the MTN8 final on October 7.

This comes soon after the launch of the Durban summer holiday campaign which seeks to promote the city for the festive season.