Thousands of households without running water for three weeks in eThekwini

Municipality has still not repaired damage caused by an electrical fire at the Ntuzuma Pump Station

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Residents of Ntuzuma, north of Durban, bring their containers to the municipal water tank. Taps have been dry for nearly three weeks after the Ntuzuma Pump Station was severely damaged by a fire. Photo: Nokulunga Majola

Thousands of homes in Ntuzuma, north of Durban, have been without running water for nearly three weeks after a fire caused extensive damage to the Ntuzuma Pump Station 2.

The eThekwini Municipality says it is yet to appoint a contractor to repair the damaged pump station, which remains closed. The council says it sends water tankers to affected communities daily, but some residents say they often miss their chance to get water when the tanker arrives during work hours.

Head of communications at the municipality, Lindiwe Khuzwayo, said that the fire at the Ntuzuma Pump Station was caused by an electrical issue. “The City is currently following all supply chain management processes in appointing a contractor to repair the damage.”

The fire caused severe damage to infrastructure, including the control room and electrical equipment. “In the interim, the City will continue supplying residents through water tankers that operate in the morning and another in the afternoon,” Khuzwayo said. The City is planning on installing water tanks, she said. She did not say how many tanks would be provided or where.

“The City will also be allowing residents to collect water from the reservoir once measures are put in place. The Municipality apologises for the inconvenience,” Khuzwayo said.

Some residents say they have resorted to collecting water from nearby rivers, which is not safe for human consumption, while others travel far to collect water in containers.

Phumelele Nala of Ntuzuma C told GroundUp that since the water shutdown, her partner has been travelling to KwaMashu to collect water. “I have never seen or heard that a water tanker came in my area,” she said.

Another resident, Pinky Hlatshwayo from Newtown said, “Urgent action is needed. While the provision of water tankers is a short-term solution, a more sustainable solution is needed to ensure that the community has access to clean and safe water.”

Many people we spoke to also raised concerns over the City’s slow response to get the pump station repaired.

TOPICS:  Sanitation Water

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