Home News City residents desperate for ‘permanent solution’ to water woes

City residents desperate for ‘permanent solution’ to water woes

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Residents and businesses in Kimberley say they have made the necessary preparations for the planned water shutdown that started last night and will last until Monday.

A Colville resident making busy with filling up bottles and buckets in preparation for the water shutdown. Picture: Soraya Crowie

RESIDENTS and businesses in Kimberley have indicated that although it is an inconvenience and safety risk, they have made the necessary preparations for the planned water shutdown that started last night and will last until Monday.

Colville and Floors residents who do not own JoJo tanks at their homes, said that their wish is for Sol Plaatje Municipality to fix the city’s water supply infrastructure permanently.

The municipality informed residents that a planned water shutdown will be in effect until Monday in order to conduct repair work on four major leaks on the bulk water pipeline.

A resident from Colville, who lives in a two-room shanty with 11 family members, said they have no space to store their buckets of water.

“I am staying inside the shank with my husband and our three minor children. My deceased sister’s children are also living with us. I took my sister’s children after she died and they had nowhere else to go. My youngest sister and her husband and their two children are also living with us.

“We are cramped inside the shack and it has already been a challenge to fit all of us into this shack. When I heard of the water shutdown, I felt deflated because I knew we would once again have to fill up our buckets in order to have water to drink and wash,” she said.

She added that the buckets of water are a safety hazard to the younger children inside the shanty.

“We do not have rooms or high cupboards where we can put the buckets. Some of the buckets had to be stored outside the shack. It is a huge danger as we have to keep a watchful eye on the smaller children as they love to play with the water. We do not want a situation where one of them falls into a bucket and drowns.”

A local early childhood centre in Floors said the water shutdown makes looking after young children very challenging.

“Children are already constantly busy and one has to keep an eye on them at all times. Having a big group of little children means constant cleaning. The children play and dirty themselves. One needs running water to deal with some of the things you need to clean at the crèche. Many of the children are still in the process of potty training and they have to get into the habit of going to the bathroom.

“Having no running water interrupts the learning processes on the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. Having buckets of water standing idle is also a dangerous invitation to young children,” the ECD practitioner said.

“We have decided that we will be open on Friday, but we are not certain about whether we will be open on Monday. We know the water usually returns late and we cannot take the risk of having the children among these buckets.”

Many residents and businesses have indicated that the water shutdown has placed a burden on them.

“What is frustrating about these water shutdowns is that there is no indication on whether there is real progress being made to address the matter permanently. We are always told that there are leaks and maintenance work needs to be conducted. However, it appears as if the maintenance work is a temporary solution.

“We have to go for days with no water and then there is still no solution to this problem. This problem has been dragging on for many years and every year the number of water shutdowns just keep increasing. When will there be a permanent solution?”

Northern Cape Department of Education spokesperson Geoffrey van der Merwe said school principals will make a decision on whether schools will remain open or if they will be closed during the shutdown.

“We are aware of the planned water shutdown in the Sol Plaatje Municipality that will affect schools in and around Kimberley. Schools have put contingency plans in place and the department has advised school principals to use their own discretion, depending on the availability of water and the situation at their respective schools. T

“The health and safety of educators, learners and support staff is our first priority. In the event where teaching and learning are negatively affected, a curriculum recovery plan will be developed to ensure that learners’ academic performance is not negatively affected,” said Van der Merwe.

The provincial chairperson of the National Federated Chamber Of Commerce and Industry (Nafcoc), Abraham Malo, said the municipality has had constant communication with the chamber regarding the water shutdown.

“We have been in communication with the municipality as well as local businesses with regards to the planned shutdown. We have asked our members to make the necessary preparations for the shutdown,” said Malo.

“Those businesses who do not have access to JoJo tanks have indicated that, though it is not ideal, they will store water buckets and bottles in order to have access to water during the shutdown. The municipality has also indicated that there will be JoJo tanks placed in some areas and some businesses can fill up if they run out of water.”

The chief executive officer (CEO) of the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci), Sharon Steyn, commended the municipality for issuing a statement on the shutdown well in advance.

“We do not want a water shutdown, but this shutdown is needed in order to address the problems we are facing with the pipeline. This time around, the municipality has been constantly informing resident and business owners about the shutdown.

“They have spread the message on various social media platforms and other communication platforms. As Nocci, we have also informed our members.The word on the shutdown was spread in advance,” said Steyn.

“The municipality has also been transparent and open with regards to the planned work that will be done. We, however, hope that they will finish their work on time and that the water will be back on the stipulated day.

“Also, we hope that the municipality will continue to keep businesses and residents informed about the progress of the work they are doing, especially if they should fall behind schedule. Our biggest hope and prayer is that there is a permanent solution to this problem.”

Kimberley residents have filled their bath tubs with water in preparation for the shutdown. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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