Hout Bay’s water problems are not drying up, and many homes are being left without water for hours and sometimes days because of leaks and pipe bursts.
Pipe bursts across Hout Bay in the past few months have seen municipal maintenance teams working around the clock, at times repairing one leak only to be called to another one just minutes later.
Jarrod Adonis sat for nearly three days without water, encountering “problem after problem” after a pipe burst in Andrews Road.
Municipal staff had spent half the night working on the burst pipe, but after fixing it, the pipe had burst at the other end of the road, so the water had had to stay off until they had fixed it too, he said.
“I had been reading about the situation for weeks before this had happened, and when it happened, I finally understood what the people were going through.
“It’s frustrating and quite upsetting. If it’s not load shedding, it’s water shedding,” Mr Adonis said.
During those three days, he had to visit a nearby friend at least four times a day to fill water containers.
“We were not getting any concrete answers, only updates, and we kept hearing about the pressure on the line elsewhere and that workers were on it. Meanwhile, the water remained off, and we had to catch a water tanker or borrow water.”
Another resident, Rachel Harmeson, said roadworks after a pipe burst also caused major headaches.
“You had to either drive around a road because the entire road has been dug up or you have cars waiting to move around the site, which causes congestion. Hout Bay has a serious problem, and we cannot keep continuing to patch up and then break up the roads.
“The City needs to find a more water-tight solution to this problem because with every pipe that burst, it’s our tax monies flowing away.”
Earlier this year, Sentinel News reported on a series of municipal water-pipe bursts in Hout Bay and sewage spills in Imizamo Yethu, where residents also complained about having to dig up newly tarred roads (“‘Whack-a-mole’ water woes plague Hout Bay,” Sentinel News, February 11, 2022).
Kronendal Primary School principal Nathan Levendal said there were regular pipe bursts in and around the school.
“This becomes a health and safety issue because the school is left without water for a day and sometimes more than a day, and we must make alternate arrangements.”
The burst pipes caused huge holes to form, he said, because the roadway over the pipes collapsed as the sand underneath was washed away.
“Some of our staff and parents park there. Some could get hurt. We had an underground pipe burst inside the school recently that left us with quite a hefty water and sewage bill,” Mr Levendal said.
A main distributor pipe burst under Andrews Road, next to Kronendal Primary, on Monday June 6 while repairs were being done to an air valve. This caused part of the road to collapse and a water outage across large parts of Hout Bay lasting several hours.
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said City staff had had to isolate a large area to do the air-valve repairs, which required a fitting to be manufactured. Welders had completed the part and had gone to the site immediately to fit it before the water had been turned back on.
A water tanker had been stationed in Andrews Road while the water had been off, Mr Quintas said.
“The City of Cape Town and I personally apologise for this unforeseen inconvenience and disruption,” he said.