Ndlambe Municipality is currently struggling to re-establish water connections to residents in the Port Alfred area due to a collapsing infrastructure and leaks that have necessitated switching water off to certain areas.
This was revealed at a press briefing the municipality’s infrastructure team had with Talk of the Town on Tuesday morning.
“The existing infrastructure is old and many connections have experienced leakages when the water has been switched off and then back on again,” said infrastructure deputy director Thulani Maluleke.
The problems began last week when power failures at the pumping stations meant water had to be turned off. Air then builds up in the pipes and, when the water is released, causes “water hammer” which, like an actual hammer blow, can cause breaks in worn or otherwise compromised pipes and connections, Maluleke explained.
Water and sanitation supervisor for the municipality, Enoch Jobela, has assigned his teams to fix leaks to the areas where pipes or connections have failed. At the end of the weekend, the team had believed the problems had been fixed. However, there was a need to refill dams and, while this was happening another pipe burst on the main line from Nemato into town.
“The main valve will remain closed for the day until the leak is fixed,” said Jobela. Water will therefore not be available in the high-lying areas of town and water pressure will be minimal until the valve is turned back on.
He said there would be no water until “at least midnight tonight”.
“However,” said Malukele, “we might well experience new leaks. It is difficult to tell and we will have to just await the outcome when the pressure is released back into the system.”
Malukele promised to keep TotT updated on any new developments until the water crisis is over. In the meantime residents are becoming frustrated with the situation and businesses around town are losing money through the non-availability of water.
Mulukele also said that he would issue TotT with the water quality report that was originally supposed to be published on the municipality’s website. TotT will also publish these when they become available.
Keep watching the Talk of the Town webpage which will publish any salient information as it is supplied by the municipality.