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By Narissa Subramoney

Deputy digital news editor

Civil society gets drinking water to KZN, govt repairs water infrastructure

KZN Water supply: Civil Society works to supplement drinking water supply and repairs to water supply lines get underway.

Over the years, and in times of one crisis after another, South Africans have proved that they can function without government intervention.

Since the KwaZulu-Natal floods ravaged the province in April, one of the biggest storm-induced problems is the residents’ lack of drinking water.

In the aftermath of the flooding, various charities, NGOs, civic organisations and private security companies quickly banded together to get much-needed assistance on the ground for flood victims in real time. To date, those efforts are ongoing.

Charities are not free, its an immense humanitarian operation

This week, various charities continue to collect drinking water for badly affected areas. The Solidarity Movement’s Crisis Fund has managed to send more than 43,000 litres of drinking water to the province this week.

In the wake of the floods, Solidarity donated as much as R250,000 to the Crisis Fund, which was set up in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 restrictions.

Solidarity’s Helpende Hand also made R100,000 available to buy water at a discounted price, to donate to KZN.

La Vita Water in Brits in the North West drastically reduced the cost of its natural mineral water 5-litre water to R10.

Gauteng-based insurance company, Virseker, donated another R150,000 which Helpende Hand used to buy and distribute the water.

“Nearly 44 tons of water have been sent to KwaZulu-Natal in the past two weeks, where branches and supporters of Helpende Hand have distributed it,” said the organisation’s regional coordinator in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Marlene Basson.

Freight companies Route Management and Transport Sox offered to transport the water at their own expense, which translated to a further donation of almost R40,000.

“The water is now being distributed at various places from Durban to Amanzimtoti. We have a long list of networks that help us with the distribution,” reported Basson.

“The biggest emergency is still access to fresh and safe drinking water, as the floods have washed away municipal infrastructure. To find a more sustainable solution, Helpende Hand wants to set up water tanks at key points, which can be filled with borehole water.”

The ongoing efforts to get clean drinking water to KZN residents are funded through the Crisis Fund, which enables people to donate their monies, with the peace of mind that Solidarity Helpende Hand manages the fund without any interference from the government.

eThekweni concentrates on repairing water supply infrastructure

eThekweni reported “substantial progress” on restoring water supply in areas where infrastructure was severely damaged.

To date, water supply has improved by 75-80% in most areas of eThekwini.

The heavy rains severely damaged the water treatment plant in Tongaat and major repairs in this area are expected to take a few months at an estimated cost of R30 million.

“As an interim solution, the Municipality has intensified the provision of additional water tankers, and more static tanks will be added to the current 42,” said eThekweni in a statement.

There are also boreholes established by Gift of the Givers and a donated package plant from Amatis.

“The public is cautioned that water from boreholes and package plant is not for consumption, but rather for other uses such as toilets and washing,” said eThekweni.

Following the construction of the emergency water supply pipeline from Nyaninga Reservoir to Tongaat South Reservoir (located at Chelmsford Buffelsdale area), the municipality confirmed that necessary tie-ins were completed on the 16th of May 2022.

The municipality said it is currently reconfiguring the existing system for the new pipeline to receive water at Tongaat South Reservoir.

Access to piped water supply is expected to be available in the next few days for the following areas that feed from the Tongaat South Reservoir:

  • Watsonia
  • Buffelsdale
  • Mithanager
  • Trurolands
  • Gandhinagar
  • Chelmsford Heights
  • Part of Tongaat Central Business District

The community is advised that the supply to Tongaat South areas will be intermittent as it must ration supply between these areas and the following areas feeding from Nyaninga Reservoir:

  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Dube Tradeport Agrizone
  • Mount Morelands
  • Shortlands

The municipality continues its plan to augment supply to more areas fed from the damaged Tongaat Water Treatment Works.

Updates for the Hambanathi, Emona, Mamba Ridge and surrounding areas are not yet available.

Water supply remains problematic in the lower Molweni area and Wushwini due to road and water infrastructure being destroyed.

About 188 water tankers have been despatched as an interim measure, to supply water in all affected areas.

“We have also started to put static tanks and drill boreholes in some areas,” said eThekweni.

There are still shortages in the Ntuzuma and surrounding areas where water rationing has been implemented.

Major pipeline replacement work that will secure supply to the following areas is expected to be completed by next week:

  • Inanda Newtown B,
  • Inanda Newtown C,
  • Inhlungwana,
  • Ezimangweni
  • Bester

NOW READ: KZN floods: Zikalala warns more flooding could hit the province

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