A PUBLIC LETTER TO THE PEOPLE OF ETHEKWINI REGARDING CITY OMBUDS INVESTIGATION INTO THE ORIGINS OF AN UNAUTHENTICATED WATER RESTRICTION REPORT.
Dear eThekwini residents,
The Executive Committee has agreed that a full investigation be launched to authenticate a report which provided details of alleged water restrictions across the City. The investigation would also establish who leaked the document and the motive behind their actions.
Measures are being taken by eThekwini Municipality to reduce water consumption as per the directive from MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube that all affected municipalities in the province should effect a 15 percent reduction in consumer demand for water.
Any planned restrictions will be carefully considered and proper consultation with affected communities will take place before water curtailing measures are implemented.
Head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation Ednick Msweli said 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.
There is a process to deal with documents in Council, starting from the head of a department, progressing to a committee and then the Executive Committee and then Council before it is approved. This report did not come before a committee.
A special Full Council meeting will be held on Friday, 11 March 2016, where a presentation by the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department will be made for all councillors. This will inform them of the current drought situation as well as measures being taken by the City including that there would be no water rationing.
In light of the drought crisis we have implemented measures such as installing restrictors and education campaigns on water conservation.
In the absence of substantial rain, it is clear that the drought will be with us for some time. We will target specific high water users thus going directly to where the problem is.
Over 50 000 restrictors have been installed already. We install restrictors in meters to restrict water usage.
Restrictors are fitted with a GPS to be located at a later stage when they need to be removed.
Lessons learnt from Hazelmere Dam, which was first affected by the drought, was that there was a problem with opening and closing the water supply as it causes bursts in the system. If we shut off the supply it will be done as an absolute last resort.
Areas where restrictors have been installed include Welbedacht East and West, KwaDabeka, Ntuzuma, Mount Moriah, uThongathi, Verulam, La Mercy, Westbrook and uMdloti area which are supplied from the Hazelmere Dam System since April 2015. Many consumers have requested that they would prefer this to be a permanent feature, as it has helped to reduce their water consumption and water bill.
Dams are taking strain. Midmar Dam is currently at 47 percent, and is expected at this time of the year to be at 80 percent. Most of the rainfall experienced has been below average. We have to reach our target of 15 percent reduction because dam levels are dropping.
Other short term drought initiatives by the Municipality include engagement with the business community and extensive community awareness campaigns to reduce consumption. Penalties and fines have also been approved by the Executive Committee and are R500 for domestic consumers and R10 000 for commercial and industrial consumers.
Saving water starts with all of us. Let’s work together and reduce water consumption. Every drop counts.
Residents can view the drought update presentation by the Head of Water and Sanitation to the Executive Committee by visiting the following link, http://www.durban.gov.za/Resource_Centre/new2/Documents/DroughtPresentationToEXCO_08_03_2016.pptx