Burst pipe leaks thousands of litres of water

A fire hydrant jets water high into the air on Monday.

With dam levels now at an effective 24.5 percent, the City has once again called on residents to drastically reduce their water consumption.

However, a group of Hout Bay residents believe the City should follow its own advice, after a burst pipe near the beach leaked thousands of litres of water on Friday February 17.

There have also been claims that the pipe was apparently damaged by a City grader used to remove sand from the dunes.

Reader Sandra Maguire reported the matter to the Sentinel this week.

“This makes me so angry. All I hear from the City is that we must save water, and then a pipe broken by the City is allowed to gush water for hours,” she said, adding that she had first approached the police about the problem at 8am.

“There was a group of us who reported this, with the police and the health department. I eventually got a message that the City had logged my complaint at 1.24pm. This is very frustrating.”

The City’s Mayco member for Area North, Suzette Little, said the burst occurred because the fire hydrant was damaged and corroded.

“The issue was reported to the water services department on Friday morning, and staff commenced repairs immediately on the same day. In terms of the allegations that a municipal front loader machine damaged the hydrant, we have not been able to confirm this in the time allotted for this query, but will continue our efforts to investigate this matter,” she said.

In another incident on Monday February 20, a fire hydrant propelled water high into the air on Main Road. Residents called this in and the matter was quickly resolved.

On Monday, the City said at the current draw-down rate, and with dam levels at an effective 24.5 percent, residents could be looking at about 129 days of useable water left.

Going forward, the names of those residents or businesses which are issued with fines will be made public.

“The City will consider further drastically lowering water pressure to a larger extent. We are currently expanding the existing pressure-reducing programme. This programme entails maintaining constant supply where we have the infrastructure to do so, but it may result in intermittent supply in the higher areas of the supply zone,” said the City’s Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, Xanthea Limberg.

“Consumption patterns and dam levels over the coming weeks will determine how the pressure reduction programme will be rolled out further. The City will communicate timeously about any decision in this regard.”

Mayor Patricia de Lille, and deputy mayor Ian Neilson, are continuing a regime of personally calling businesses, hotels and government departments unannounced to check up on their water use.

Ms De Lille and her representatives (area-based mayoral committee members) have started personally engaging with some of the high water users who have been identified through their water accounts and January 2017 consumption.

A month-on-month comparison will be made on the water usage, which will inform further action.