Water restored to Phoenix, but only for a few hours at night

eThekwini municipality blames delays to restore water to all affected communities this week on “unforeseen repairs”

| By

Phoenix resident Magdalene Naidoo says their water is only switched on at night, yet the eThwekwini Municipality and water and sanitation minister Senzo Mchunu promised water would be running from their taps by now. Photo: Tsoanelo Sefoloko

  • Residents in Phoenix, Durban say celebrations were short-lived this week because just hours after water was restored to the area, it was cut off yet again.
  • The community has been without consistent running water supply for at least 190 days, say residents.
  • Households have now been filling containers at night when there is some water, before it is switched off around 6am daily.
  • The eThekwini municipality says unforeseen repairs to infrastructure has delayed restoring water to all of the affected communities this week.

Just as community members in Phoenix, Durban were welcoming the return of their water supply, they woke up on Thursday morning to find their taps were dry yet again.

Earlier this month, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu visited the area and promised residents of eThekwini Municipality, particularly in Verulam, Phoenix, and Tongaat, that their water supply would be restored by 15 February.

This followed several protests by residents in Phoenix demanding better water supply. Residents had previously expressed their frustration and hopelessness at the water crisis. Many of them said they felt let down and forgotten by eThekwini municipality.

This week, GroundUp was contacted by Phoenix residents welcoming the return of running water in their home after nearly 190 days without consistent supply. But when we arrived at resident Magdalene Naidoo’s home on Thursday morning, she was disheartened, as the water had been cut off since 6am.

Naidoo said everyone in the house now has to get up early so they can wash before 6am. “We have to wake up early in the morning just to make sure that we store water, even elderly people. We were happy to see water coming out of our taps, not knowing that it is not a permanent solution,” said Naidoo.

Resident Jane Govindsami said when the water was restored for a few hours she filled containers so she could store it for later use. “We are living in the new normal of having to store water. We are lucky because some areas are still without water,” she said.

According to Verulam Water Crisis committee chairperson Roshan Lil-Ruthan, they have raised concerns over the limited supply of water from the Hazelmere treatment plant, with turbidity being cited as another issue.

“We urge eThekwini’s water and sanitation department to thoroughly investigate and address this situation. It is possible that there may be an issue with the plant itself or a shortage of essential coagulant chemicals required to remove dirt from the raw water,” he said.

“The affected communities are experiencing significant hardships due to these ongoing water supply issues. It is imperative that they are resolved promptly. We believe that a comprehensive investigation will help restore the communities’ confidence in the water supply system,” said Lil-Ruthan.

IFP party leader in Ward 49, Phoenix, Shanal Ramdheen, earlier this week had said many households were happy they no longer had to rely on water tankers. “The trucks sometimes did not arrive, arrived later or during the day when everyone was at work,” said Ramdheen.

Municipal head of water and sanitation, Ednick Msweli, said they were only able to switch on water to certain communities after 54 air valves were replaced on a pipeline that carries water from the Durban Heights treatment works to the areas in the north.

“For now, community members can still expect to experience water shedding until next week when all the valves have been restored and fixed. Once we have fixed the valves, residents won’t experience any water shedding,” said Msweli.

City Manager Musa Mbhele stated: “Water supply to most parts of Phoenix, Mount Edgecombe, Virginia, uMhlanga, and Durban North has improved though it is not fully restored. This is because the outstanding valves require modification to fit the new valves into the network. This also requires a shut down. This modification work was not foreseen when the work was planned to be completed by 15 February,” he said.

TOPICS:  Water

Next:  Fiery end to Green Point tent city

Previous:  Lottery’s looted R9.5-million would have made all the difference to Limpopo cyclists

© 2024 GroundUp. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.

We put an invisible pixel in the article so that we can count traffic to republishers. All analytics tools are solely on our servers. We do not give our logs to any third party. Logs are deleted after two weeks. We do not use any IP address identifying information except to count regional traffic. We are solely interested in counting hits, not tracking users. If you republish, please do not delete the invisible pixel.