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Nompilo Kunene
Senior online journalist
2 minute read
16 Dec 2021
15:57

Heavy thunderstorms cause power and water interruptions in KZN

Nompilo Kunene

Two substations were damaged during the severe thunderstorms on Wednesday resulting in water supply interruptions in parts of Durban.

Two substations were damaged during the severe thunderstorms on Wednesday resulting in water supply interruptions in parts of Durban.

Umgeni Water’s Shami Harichunder, on Thursday said the electricity feed to Inanda Dam failed on Wednesday night after an eThekwini municipal transformer at the Inanda Pump Station was struck by lightning.

“This affected pumping of water from Inanda Dam to Durban Heights Water Works. As a result of this power supply interruption, reduced volumes of raw is being conveyed to Durban Heights Water Works for treatment and supply to eThekwini.

“This has resulted in some reservoirs in the Durban Heights Water Works supply areas receiving reduced volumes of water.”

He said the consequence is ongoing water shortages in some areas that are served by eThekwini Water and Sanitation.

“This impacts directly on consumers through interruptions in water supply.”

He said eThekwini electricity department staff are treating repair of the damaged transformer as a priority and are already on site to conduct work.

At Nagle Dam, Harichunder said during the severe storm a lightning strike occurred, burning an Eskom transformer.

He said the incident has been reported to Eskom, with a request that repair be treated as priority. Nagle Dam supplies water to Durban Heights Water Works through four aqueducts. This water is treated and supplied to eThekwini water and sanitation.

Harichunder said damage to the two transformers has created an additional deficit in raw water supply of approximately 50 million litres per day. There is already a deficit of 30 million litres per day due to failure of Shaft Pump 1 at Durban Heights Water Works. This means there is now a cumulative deficit of 80 million litres per day, which creates a shortfall in supply of potable water to eThekwini water and sanitation to the same magnitude.

“[We are] aware that eThekwini Metro’s call [centre]continues to receive a large number of calls from consumers affected by erratic water supply.

“Umgeni Water wishes to apologise for this inconvenience and assures consumers that everything possible is being done to have the two transformers repaired and functioning again.

“Work on Shaft Pump 1 and repair to Aqueduct 4 are progressing around the clock for the contractors to deliver these projects within agreed time-frames.”