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Water shutdowns extended

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The demand for water in the city was currently “extremely high”

The temporary water shutdown affecting Umtentweni, parts of Sea Park and Southport, was to be over by late Tuesday night at the earliest. Normal supply to Melville, Pumula and Umzumbe areas was expected to be restored by Wednesday. Picture: Bongani Shibulane/African News Agency

THE SOL Plaatje Municipality has announced that, due to the current heatwave, the local authority is struggling to meet the city’s demand for water and the nightly shutdowns will be extended.

Municipal spokesperson Sello Matsie said yesterday that the demand for water in the city was currently “extremely high”.

“We hope that with the coming online of the new pump station at Riverton we might be able to improve the supply slightly while we work on long-term solutions,” said Matsie.

In the meantime, however, the municipality will be shutting off the water an hour earlier in the evenings. “The water will be shut off at 7pm instead of 8pm in the evenings.”

In the mornings, supply will only be returned 30 minutes later, at 4.30am, instead of the current 4am.

Residents took to social media early yesterday morning to complain about the lack of water as their taps remained dry.

“This morning (Thursday) the water only came back on in Herlear well after 7am. This is a problem when you need to make breakfast and get children ready for school by 7.15am,” one resident said.

Meanwhile, a number of videos are also doing the rounds currently on social media of water meters seemingly spinning as air flows through the pipes.

“While the video was not necessarily a Kimberley one, as stated by the complainant, we have acknowledged that this is highly possible and we have also received similar reports,” Matsie said, commenting on the video.

“We encourage residents to report such matters in the interest of fairness. We only require residents to pay their fair share of consumption and nothing else. We will also conduct our investigation based on individual cases that are brought to our attention. This is possible with our water rationing system.”

The meter shown in the video is reported to be from a household in Kimberley and can be traced to the physical address by the meter number.

Another video also doing the rounds is believed to feature a newer meter. In this meter, the homeowner is seen physically blowing into the meter, showing that the meters are affected by air flow.

“If the municipality has acknowledged that there is a problem with the meters, which are affected by air in the pipes, surely it is their responsibility to do something about the issue. It shouldn’t be up to the homeowner to have to try prove it to the municipality if his account is abnormally high,” an irate resident said yesterday.

“The municipality expects residents to take time off work to stand in queues to query their accounts. We are being expected to pay for air but the municipality sits back and folds its arms. I am happy to pay for the water I have used – but not for air in the pipes because the municipality cannot cope with the demand and needs to switch off the supply every night,” he added.

“The municipality has stated that it will work out an average consumption based on the last three months’ usage – but the water restrictions have been in place for the last three months. We cannot even look at last year’s figures because we also had restrictions this time last year.”