Msunduzi Municipality is trying to reach an agreement with Eskom not to load shed water pumping facilities, as this is having a devastating impact on water supply.
On Saturday, Unit 14 and the KwaMadlala community members in Elandskop blockaded the main road with burning tyres demanding that their water be restored.
The aggrieved residents had gone three weeks without water, without receiving an explanation from anyone.
Msunduzi deputy mayor Mxolisi Mkhize, said the implementation of Eskom stage 6 blackouts is a major setback, as water pumps are unable to provide pressure during load shedding.
“We are planning on having engagements with Eskom to zone areas around water pumps so they don’t get affected by load shedding. We are trying to protect the infrastructure that deals with pumping stations.
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“We will start with the ones that are powered by Msunduzi electricity. We believe that this will be a solution to address the water challenges in Vulindlela,” said Mkhize, adding that the municipality has not yet reached an agreement on this with Eskom.
Mkhize said Groenkloof and Howick West are the two pump stations that supply Vulindlela with water.
“Having load shedding at different times in both areas [in which] these stations are situated, causes a problem as it results in the Dulela Reservoir in Mafakatini being empty the whole day. Having no water in that big reservoir means that all nine reservoirs will have nothing.
“It is our duty as councillors to go to the communities and explain the challenges we have come across and what we think will be a solution. We have water tankers dispatched in different wards to provide water to communities without water.
This is just a [temporary] measure; we are doing our utmost in ensuring the restoration of water so that people have access to clean water.
He added that in Vulindlela, the water network is constrained due to the high population. A community member, who didn’t want to be named, said the water tanker only came after the protest.
“It came that day, as it was called by the ward councillor. After that, we haven’t seen it again. Life has become tough. We ask people with cars to give us a ride so that we can fetch water from areas that have water.
“We have never experienced water outages this long; it used to only be half a day when they were purifying the water. What makes things worse is that no one is giving us an explanation on what the problem is. All we want is to have water. How are we going to survive without it?” she asked.
Ward councillor Bukelani Zuma encouraged people to speak to the councillors instead of protesting, as they are damaging infrastructure.
“I asked [the community] to open the road and organised a water tanker to supply them with water. We agreed to revive the natural springs as an alternative for when there are water outages. They did identify some and I promised to bring them a storage tank, which will work as a second option when there’s no water,” said Zuma.