Heavy rains cause water shortages

water crisis south africaResidents and businesses in several towns in northern kwaZulu-Natal have been adversely affected by water shortages following recent heavy rains.

The uThukela district mayor, Mqapheli Sithole, said pumps used to supply clean water to areas including Bergville, Langkloof, Bethani, the Ladysmith CBD and eZakheni township sections A to E were still under water and unable to function properly.

“Businesses and a lot of people we supply water to are affected. If our water purification plants are not purifying water everything comes to a standstill. The river was overflowing and the engine room was under water… We are unable to draw raw water from the uThukela River because the pipes are covered with sand,” he said.

Sithole said the water crisis in uThukela was beyond the municipality’s control and that even the water tankers that were sent to distribute water to the affected areas were limited.

He could not say when the piped water supply would be restored.

However, Sinegugu Ndlovu, a resident of Ezakheni township in Ladysmith, said they had had water supply problems for several years and residents had become accustomed to travelling long distances to fetch water.

“It’s difficult especially since I have a baby to bottle-feed. Although water tankers are being sent, the water is still not enough. It’s also really difficult in terms of hygiene,” she said.

Bergville Ratepayers Association secretary Mumtaz Asmal said the water crisis in the Okhahlamba local municipality, which falls under uThukela, started on January 4.

“We were told that the cause was due to the water pump and electrical equipment being flooded and, because of continuing rainfalls, they are unable to repair the problem.”

Asmal said residents had not been provided with tankers, despite being promised that water would be delivered.

Thulani Sibeko, of Bethani, near Bergville, said they also had been without water for more than a month and had had no communication from municipal authorities about when the water supply would be restored.

Frank du Preez, an assistant manager at Sentinel Motors, a garage in Bergville, said their public toilets had been closed for a week.

Reacting to the residents’ complaints, Sithole said he was unaware that residents in these regions had been experiencing water problems for years, but vowed to investigate the claims. – The Mercury

Source: Daily News

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