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Thabiso Goba
2 minute read
26 May 2022

Contractors estimate time to repair Umdloti water system

Thabiso Goba

Contractors have estimated it will take about four months to repair the flood-damaged water system in Umdloti, north of Durban.

Contractors have estimated it will take about four months to repair the flood-damaged water system in Umdloti, north of Durban.

The small coastal town located on the the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast was hard hit by the recent floods, resulting in major water works and pipes being damaged.

The most impacted area was on Bellamont Road, where the foundation for Surfside apartments was severely undermined by flood water, which destroyed underground pipes and created a large gully.

Several tenants of the apartment block have been evacuated while the area remains without access to water.

The wastewater treatment plant, which supplies water to Umdloti, was also damaged and forced the eThekwini Municipality to divert some water from the Waterloo plant in the meantime.

On Wednesday, eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda handed over the site to Devru Construction, which has been hired by the City to repair the damage.

Kriben Naidoo, director of Devru, said their immediate goal was securing the area to prevent further damage.

Naidoo said they would be laying two continuous 20-metre plus PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipes which would be hard to destroy in future should there be heavy rains.

He said: 

“We are going to vegetate [the area] in such a way to prevent further erosion.”

Residents from the Surfside apartments were left visibly unimpressed during a brief question-and-answer session with the mayor.

One of the resident, who was evacuated from his apartment as it was no longer safe for occupation, wanted assurances from Kaunda that they would not be charged rates or any other municipal services while the construction was ongoing.

Kaunda said rates holidays and rebates could only be passed through a council resolution so he could not commit to anything.

Another resident asked the mayor if there would be any additional measures to ensure that the pipes did not burst again.

Kaunda tried to assure residents that the engineers would be re-installing the pipes in a way that would make them resilient against future adverse conditions.

Kaunda said: 

“Upon inspection, our engineers discovered that sand build-up on Bellamont Road had caused water to cross from one side to the other and this caused damage to properties.”

“However, with the municipality installing these two high-density polyethylene pipes with inlets on both sides, water coming from the nearby forest will be channelled to the sea to prevent future damages to nearby properties and municipal infrastructure.”

Kaunda also gave a one-month timeline to repair the damaged trunk sewer line on Effingham Road.

The sewer line was damaged by the recent heavy rains, resulting in sewage flowing onto the roads and into the local river.