Over a million litres of water lost in city reservoir calamity

One of the reservoir systems massive inflow from Midmar

To put the loss into perspective 1.2 million litres of water is equivalent to 1 200 tons of water which would need 120 ten-ton water tankers to move. If you consider that the average South African household uses 250 litres of water a day, the lost water could have supplied a single household all its water requirements for 13 years!

And according to residents who live in the suburbs below the World’s View Reservoir, this is not the first time the facility has experienced major water losses.

City businessman Yunus Asmall who lives in one of the suburbs below the reservoir said he was shocked over the weekend to find a ‘strongly flowing stream’ running through his property.

“The volume of water flowing through was incredible. I called the city’s call centre repeatedly to report the crisis but most of my calls went unanswered. Eventually when someone did pick up the telephone it would appear that nobody was prepared to act decisively and take action, instead the problem keeps getting shifted from one department to another,” said Asmall who said he was devastated to watch such a volume of water just drain away.

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After numerous complaints from several affected residents, it appears that eventually plumbers (either working for Msunduzi or Umgeni Water) were despatched and managed to contain the water loss.

Msunduzi Municipality spokeswoman Thobeka Mafumbatha said this week that the city was investigating the issue as a matter of urgency.

Umgeni Water this week acknowledged the incident confirming that the reservoir overflowed with an estimated loss of 1 200 000 litres of water.

Corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said a faulty sensor caused the reservoir to overflow but said the problem was fixed within two hours of the fault being reported.

“The reservoir in question is Clarendon, which is owned by Umgeni Water. The problem experienced was overflow of the reservoir, a situation that was caused by a faulty level sensor. Umgeni Water was notified about the problem at about 07h45 on 29th April 2017. The fault was repaired within two (2) hours and Clarendon reservoir has fully recovered. The amount of water that was lost as a result of the overflow is estimated at 1.2Ml (1.2 million litres). As far as Umgeni Water has been able to ascertain, supply to Msunduzi Local Municipality was not affected,” said Harichunder.

Ward 26 ward committee assistant Jack Mthethwa said the water loss was a huge blow to efforts to preserve water in the city.

“This is an issue that needs technical understand – if there is a greater problem with the reservoir clarity needs to be given and responsibility needs to be taken by the relevant people.  As Ward 26 leadership we will persist with efforts to ensure this doesn’t occur again”, Mthethwa.

According to a 2011 Umgeni Water report, the World’s View Reservoir located north west from the CBD is one of Umgeni Water’s primary water storage facilities and was constructed in 1996 and supplies the “61-Pipeline”. The reservoir serves as both a break pressure and balancing storage facility supplying a water demand of approximately 138 MI/day which was expected to significantly increase when construction on the Western Aqueduct was complete. At the time Umgeni Watrer had budgeted R92 million to upgrade the facility and increase its storage capacity by 50 MI.

In 2009 an additional input line from Midmar was installed effectively doubling the outlet capacity at the World’s View Reservoir. The pipeline upgrade involved laying pipes “through Queen Elizabeth Park, Victoria Country Club Golf estate, under the N3 and R103, along the Mist Belt Grassland, up to Clarendon Reservoir where the pipes joined and connect to the inlet at World’s View reservoir”.

Bongeka Sibisi

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