Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has promised residents of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, particularly those in Verulam, Phoenix and Tongaat, that their water supply will be restored by 15 February.
Mchunu’s visit follows recent protests by residents of Parkgate in Verulam and Phoenix demanding a better water supply. Residents have previously expressed their frustration and hopelessness at the water crisis. Many of them said they felt let down and forgotten by eThekwini municipality.
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Last week, officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation, eThekwini, and uMngeni-uThukela Water outlined current and future plans to be implemented to address the ongoing water supply challenges, which were exacerbated by heavy rains.
While addressing about 500 residents at the Mountview Civic Centre in Verulam on Sunday, Mchunu said he asked Ednick Msweli, head of the water and sanitation department in eThekwini, to solely focus on resolving the water crisis in several communities by next week. Mchunu said the same instruction was given to the chair of the board at uMngeni-uThukela Water.
“Ednick Msweli assured me that water will be restored by the 15th. No effort will be spared in resolving these water supply challenges.
“Work will be carried out day and night if we have to in order to meet the deadline and provide communities with water,” said Mchunu.
Verulam water crisis committee chair Roshan Lil-Ruthan said: “We were provided with water tankers, but that is always not enough. Most of our areas are downhill, so it is sometimes not easy for tanker trucks to take water to those communities. We have been relying on the private companies to provide us with water.”
Msweli said he had joined various community WhatsApp groups to get first-hand information on any issues. “We [have] been working with the community even though it’s not easy.
“On 5 February, the City will commission a borehole in Trenence 3 [reservoir]. This is while work is being done on the northern aqueduct to increase the water flow. The project is progressing well,” he said.
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Msweli said: “There has been a lot of suggestions that we must get water from Hazelmere dam to the Mountview reservoir. uMngeni-uThukela Water is trying by all means to store water. We are still having the challenge of getting water into the taps, but the project has started.”
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda has said that tests and repairs are underway on the northern aqueduct to restore water to the affected communities by 15 February.
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