Double pipe burst leaves Hout Bay high and dry

Municipal workers had to remove a tree in Harbour Road on Saturday to fix a burst water pipe. Pictures: supplied.

Frustration over Hout Bay’s decrepit water pipes is mounting after two major pipe bursts left large parts of the community high and dry for several days.

The disruption affected the entire Hout Bay area as well as Mount Rhodes, Suikerbossie, Ruyterplaats and Llandudno, and it came just over a month after a burst on the main pipe near the Riverside Terrace estate, on Thursday December 7, caused similar widespread water-supply disruptions (“Water restored after main pipe bursts,” Sentinel, December 14).

The latest pipe-burst drama started at 3am on Saturday, when the 300mm Harbour Road water main pipe, which feeds Northshore, Kronezicht, Hangberg and Hout Bay Heights, burst and had to be shut down for repairs.

Mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien, said the pipe had to be manually excavated because of nearby high-voltage cabling

“Unfortunately, this process was time consuming and labour intensive. Further assessment found a tree’s roots wrapped around the pipe, which added an additional layer of complexity. Arrangements had to be made to uproot the tree in order to access the pipe, which caused further delays.”

Municipal workers removed the tree roots and prepared the pipe for repairs by 10pm on Sunday, but work was suspended when they were pelted with stones, said Dr Badroodien.

“While teams worked around the clock to resolve the technical challenges, the extended delays caused by safety risks could have been avoided. Due to not being able to conduct repairs overnight, residents relying on water supply to be restored were negatively affected.

“Work resumed on Sunday morning, when the team returned to install a new section of pipe. By 7pm, all repairs were completed. However, an unexpected second burst occurred on the Valley Road 300mm diameter water main while the team was reinstating and filling the pipes.”

The second burst meant the supply from the Hout Bay Reservoir had to be turned off for the pipe to be excavated.

“Water tankers were made available to residents throughout the duration of all repairs,” said Dr Badroodien.

All repairs were completed and the water supply was restored by 8pm on Tuesday, the City confirmed.

Hout Bay community activist Roscoe Jacobs said the area’s ageing water infrastructure needed to be replaced to prevent further problems.

“Water is currently restored, but this can be interrupted again due to the ageing water infrastructure. I am concerned about the safety of these aged pipes and whether they are asbestos pipes.”

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said a public meeting would be held at the Alphen Centre in Constantia, at a date and time yet to be confirmed, to discuss the issue.

Mr Jacobs said such a meeting should happen after 6pm to accommodate those who worked during the day.

Municipal workers busy with repairs in Valley Road on Sunday morning.