WATER SHORTAGE, A CAUSE FOR CONCERN IN WELBEDACHT WEST COMMUNITY
Written by: Mongi Khanyile
Drought has become a growing concern in South Africa, especially in the province of KwaZulu-Natal as it is experiencing the highest levels of water restrictions since 1992.
According to Statistics South Africa, in 2013 municipalities increased the supply of sewerage and sanitation services by 6, 2%, raising the number of consumer units with access to sanitation facilities from 9, 4 million in 2012 to almost 10 million in 2013.
In an interview with Biznews.com Anthony Turton, a professor at the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of Free State, said that the drought suffered earlier this year was probably due to El Nino, a global weather pattern that causes dry conditions in sub-Saharan Africa. He added that water quality may decline as rivers can’t flush away sewage and dilute toxic discharges from mines.
In an article by Rising Sun in March 2016, head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation, Ednick Msweli said that water restrictions would be a last option after all other water saving measures had been exhausted. The report which has caused a lot of unnecessary panic among the public is not an official report by the city.
Areas where restrictors have been installed include Welbedacht East and West, KwaDabeka, Ntuzuma, Mount Moriah, uThongathi, La Mercy, and uMdloti which have been supplied by the Hazelmere Dam System since April 2015. Many consumers have indicated that they would prefer this to be a permanent feature as it has helps to reduce their water consumption and water bill.
Restrictors have been placed at many places in and around KwaZulu-Natal. However, the issue is not that water is restricted, but rather that these areas are not being warned when water will not be available. The water trucks are also limited, and arrive at these places later than usual.
According to Bongiwe Magcaba, a resident of Welbedacht, water is of utmost importance.
“Water is an essential substance which is needed for everyday life to function. We need the water to do washing, cook, bathe and in such an area, agriculture is important to others who rely on water for food from their plantations,” said Magcaba.
“Water is scarce and we have accepted we are one of many areas where water is restricted, but the least the municipality can do is communicate with us as to when its available and when it won’t be available and even make the water trucks come efficiently and effectively to our community when we have no water,” added Magcaba.
According Sizwe Cele, also a resident of Welbedacht West, their concerns are falling on deaf ears.
“Here in our community we have a committee that was appointed by us as the community, who are meant to hear our cries and help eradicate that particular problem or get the message to those in power who will assist us as the community of Welbedacht West, but for some reason, nothing is being done only empty promises,” said an angry Cele.
According to Khosi Hlongwane, a resident of Welbedacht community, they are not given enough notice to prepare themselves for water shortages.
“Notices of water not being available are not being communicated in our community and therefore we struggle to prepare ourselves for water not being there at the time and as for the water trucks they don’t even come until we’ve suffered. They come three to four days after the water has been gone,” said Hlongwane.
Should people fail to use water sparingly, shortages are expected to increase in the next coming years.
*Picture: Running tap water