After intermittent, or no supply, high lying areas in Port Alfred are at last starting to receive water through the municipal supply, after the Rosehill pumps were switched on again at the end of January.
WATER HARDSHIP: Nemato resident Loyiso Vice is one of the residents who shared his story of spending the festive season without water. Picture: SUPPLIED
For weeks, rain water tanks were what saw many businesses and residents through the festive season, with some getting not a drop from their taps.
Businessman Shane Abrahams told Talk of the Town that he had been without water for a while at both his business and home.
“We have not had water for a long time now,” he said. “I do not even bother to check if there is water in the taps. We use rain water from the roof here at my business premises,” Abrahams said.
“I live in Forest Downs. We also have rain water tanks at home so I do not care anymore. I have got 10 000 litres of rain water at the moment so I am not worried,” he said.
Abrahams said the impact of the lack of water impacted the aged even if they have rain water tanks.
“We have old ladies here who cannot carry 25 litres of water from the tank to the house. I can manage to carry 25 litres but how can an 80 year old do that?” he asked.
Port Alfred’s water crisis has been a blessing in disguise for Abrahams.
“We started a laundry in November last year and we are using rain water. We know that even when the municipality supplies water, it may not be clean enough for the washing,” he said.
Nemato resident Lonwabo Vice said his area had no communal water during the festive season.
“I do not even remember the last time we had water. During the festive season, we were using rain water tanks. When the water comes back it comes back at midnight and it normally lasts for three hours. If you miss those hours forget it,” he said.
Ward 10 resident Emil Kohl echoed Vice’s concerns, saying water is on and off in his area.
“We have not had water for weeks now. When we have it, it just drops in the morning. Sometimes it does not go to the houses because there is not enough pressure,” he said.
Nemato resident Nosipho Mdintsi also shared her water crisis story.
“In December we only had water for one week. Almost the whole month even now (January) we do not have water every day. When it comes back it comes back at night. When the trucks fill up those municipal tanks they normally fill them up at night which is not safe for us who stay far away from those communal tanks. If you wait till the next day you will find an empty tank because those who are closer often finish the water immediately. Sometimes we fight over this because sometimes you will find one person with more than three buckets,” she said.
Mdintsi further mentioned that those who had no rain water tanks used buckets to collect roof during rainy days. She went on to state that buying water for cooking was costing her about R400 per month. Loyiso Vice who stays in the same area as Mdintsi shared the same experience saying the issue of water was a dire situation.
At the beginning of February, Ndlambe Municipality said the fact that the former operator of Port Alfred’s reverse osmosis (RO) plant had stopped operations late last year had left Ndlambe communities with a daily shortfall of around 1.5 megalitres. THe municipality said as soon as it had completed repairs at the plant, it would take over production at the site.
On Monday, January 30, Director Noluthando Vithi confirmed that the former QFS RO plant is still not in operation. However, the good news was that pumping had resumed at Rosehill, meaning high-lying areas on the west side would start to receive a supply again, via the Sarel Hayward Dam and the Wharf Street 1 megalitre RO plant.