Anger over three-day water outage in Hout Bay

The latest pipe burst in Hout Bay caused a three-day water outage, leaving residents fuming.

There is growing frustration over water outages and pipe bursts in Hout Bay.

The latest one, on Wednesday October 12, in Harbour Road, left the Hout Bay Harbour, the Valley area, Hout Bay Heights and parts of the Hangberg community without water for three days.

Acting mayoral committee member for water and sanitation Siseko Mbandezi said it was caused when old, deteriorating pipes entangled in a large system of palm-tree roots were destabilised by strong winds causing movement in the trees that cracked the pipes and caused them to fail.

Kim Krynauw, the director of the Hout Bay Seal and Rescue Centre, said the water outages undermined their daily operations and prevented them from keeping the centre clean.

“It’s all just a major hassle and ends making things so much harder in the end for us,” she said.

The centre receives water donations from the public when there are outages, but they are not enough.

Sentinel Primary School issued a public appeal on social media for donations of drinking water for the children, and Hout Bay resident Donovan Lotto said it was “hell” being without water for nearly three days.

“Up and down for water. Our toilets are off, we cannot clean or keep tidy, we cannot wash. It’s ridiculous and just more and more of these pipes burst all over and we just end up sitting without water again.”

Another pipe burst a few weeks earlier left Mr Lotto without water for two days.

“We understand that there is a problem with the drainage. Somehow you need to find this problem and fix it. You cannot just keep patching things up and forcing us to live on edge, waiting on yet another pipe burst to occur,” he said.

There have been several minor bursts around Hout Bay, but the last major incident saw a section of Andrews Road caving in, causing damage to the nearby Kronendal Primary School, shutting roads and flooding certain areas (“Hout Bay becoming a no-flow area,” Sentinel News, June 10, 2022).

Meanwhile, the City announced last week that is had appointed a consulting engineering company to come up with preliminary designs for an upgraded water pipeline in Hout Bay.

The Hout Bay Water Pipeline Upgrade Project will be done in four phases, but further details have yet to be released, according to Mr Mbandezi.

“Currently, the City’s operations team is monitoring this pipeline closely and is working on plans to mitigate the extended outages when failures do occur, as a shorter-term solution,” he said.