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EXPLAINER: This is why some Durban suburbs will be without water for 12 hours on Tuesday

EXPLAINER: This is why some Durban suburbs will be without water for 12 hours on Tuesday

Durban – Residents in Durban are bracing for a 12-hour water outage as Umgeni Water conducts maintenance at the Wiggins water treatment works in Bonela on Tuesday.

Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said the shutdown is due a combination of reasons, including planned maintenance and an emergency in some respects. He said operations will begin at 8am.

In order for this project to be undertaken, the plant will have to be shut down for the project’s duration.

“This bulk potable water production and supply system will be recharged immediately after completion of work, expected at 8pm on Tuesday, November 15. It generally takes this plant three hours to reach full potable water production. However, it is important to note that full recovery of a municipal reticulation system, in this instance eThekwini Metro, generally takes longer,” Harichunder said.

The work to be undertaken involves fixing two leaks on a pipe, replacing draw-off valves, repairs to the pre-chlorine dosing sparge pipe and cleaning of the raw water inlet canal.

EXPLAINER: This is why some Durban suburbs will be without water for 12 hours on Tuesday
Areas that will be affected by the water outage. Picture: Umgeni Water
EXPLAINER: This is why some Durban suburbs will be without water for 12 hours on Tuesday
Areas that will be affected by the water outage. Picture: Umgeni Water

The Wiggins water treatment works supplies eThekwini Metro’s reservoirs in central and south of Durban. These reservoirs, in turn, supply areas that may experience low tap pressure during the shutdown as eThekwini Metro’s systems recover after completion of work.

Harichunder said in advance of the 12-hour shutdown and as mitigation to try to prevent the possibility of water shortages occurring during the shutdown, eThekwini Metro has begun topping up these reservoirs to reach 100%.

“The inlets will be closed for the duration of the shutdown and the time it takes the Wiggins water treatment works to reach full potable water production again. Reservoirs will be monitored constantly and if their levels drop to 50%, pumping will be implemented to maintain levels for specific high-demand reservoirs. Some reservoirs are available as back-up if the need arises,” he said.

He said Umgeni Water has begun increasing production and supply of potable water to meet increased demand that has been created by the need to top up municipal reservoirs.

Harichunder added that as a further measure, potable water production will be increased at the Amanzimtoti water treatment works during the shutdown and for five days after that to support recovery of the interconnected Wiggins system and to meet possible increased demand.

He said it is imperative that during the shutdown and while the systems of Umgeni Water and eThekwini Metro recover after the repair and maintenance work has been completed, consumers use water sparingly or try to reduce consumption. Excessive use or large-scale storage of water could result in reservoirs draining rapidly, which will invariably cause water shortages and inadequate water being received by consumers.

“The emergency is to repair two underground leaks on a pipe at the plant. Umgeni Water does not foresee the possibility that the shutdown lasting in excess of 12 hours. However, mitigation measures have been implemented to try to prevent water shortages occurring. They include Umgeni Water increasing potable water production and supply to eThekwini Metro to enable it to fill up its reservoirs to 100%. eThekwini Metro also has back-up reservoirs which it can use to augment supply if need arises,” he said.

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