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No water after Sol fails to open valves

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“I tried phoning the municipality’s call centre but I was told by the operator to be patient as the water still needed to flow through the system”

WHILE levels at the Newton Reservoir continue to rise and water is being pumped to the city, as promised by the Sol Plaatje Municipality, the latest issue to affect the supply of water is the human factor, after officials seemingly forgot to open all the valves on the line.

This led to many parts of the CBD, as well as other areas in the city, to be without water from Monday afternoon to yesterday afternoon, when the mistake was realised.

Businesses in parts of the CBD were without water yesterday morning.

“I tried phoning the municipality’s call centre but I was told by the operator to be patient as the water still needed to flow through the system,” one businessman said.

“After waiting – and there was still no water – I called again and was advised to contact the waterworks department directly. Needless to say there was no answer.”

Enquiries to the municipality in the morning saw assurances that there was no problem with the levels at Newton and water was being pumped to all parts of the city.

“We are pumping from Newton and if there are areas that do not have water it must be isolated problems,” municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie explained.

He further urged residents to indicate the exact addresses affected so that the matter could be investigated.

By yesterday afternoon, when there was still no water, Matsie said an investigation revealed that one of the valves on the mainline from Newton had not been opened, while two valves in the network had not been opened properly.

“Once the valves were opened the supply was restored.”

Meanwhile in Bloemanda, where some residents said they had been without water for two weeks, it was discovered that a burst pipe had led to the disruption.

According to Matsie the pipe was attended to.

“As we move away from the shutdowns we will not be needing to close and open valves in the local area,” Matsie said.

He explained that when the water was switched off at Newton, it was necessary for municipal employees to physically close all the valves because of the ring feed. “When the water is switched back on, we have to open them again.”

He indicated that there were about 30 valves on the main distribution line that needed to be opened and closed each time.

Meanwhile, Matsie said yesterday that he was also grateful for the rain showers which, he pointed out, normally had an impact on consumption.

“Despite the betterment of our situation we have a collective responsibility to alter our behaviour when it comes to water usage. We are a water-scarce country and city and we have to be mindful of this at all times.”