Dry, silent taps cripple Umdloti
"Umdloti’s water supply is erratic and there is no communication from anyone about the water cut-off time schedule changes."
The chances of having water in Umdloti are about as high as having the right paperwork when you go to home affairs. Wherever you go, whoever you speak to, water is on everyone’s lips – or rather the lack thereof over the past six months.
The popular beach restaurant on the northern side of Umdloti, The SandBar, has been operating with little to no water since November last year, according to owner, Leonard Staples.
“We have no running water from the time we open until about 5pm. There has been no communication from anyone about the water cut-off time schedule changes. How is it that we are sending people to Mars, yet we cannot figure out the water issue? It is a massive inconvenience,” said Staples.
On the south side, residents are just as frustrated and owner of Fairlight Beach House, Colin Deeb said they cannot be left in the dark about water any longer.
“Why are we voting for our councillor if we never hear from him? We just need a courtesy letter to keep us updated. We just want an open, honest relationship. There are so many rumours around Umdloti about the water, because no one communicates,” said Deeb.
To save water, they have put up signs in their bathrooms, asking people to shower rather than bath. If a guest stays for three days or more, they do a linen change every third day and ask guests to hang their towels to dry and reuse them instead of washing if possible.
“When the Jojos have water in them, our guests have water, but when they run dry that’s it.
“We pay such high rates, so why are we not being looked after? If we are 24 hours late on a rates payment, everything is shut down. We go nearly six months without water and are expected to accept it. I know rain cannot be made – but I just need communication.”
He said almost every person who inquires about accommodation asks about the water situation.
“We have had to reduce our rates during peak season, because we cannot offer our guests four-star service without water. It has become detrimental to our business.”
Umdloti UIP manager, Terry Rens agreed saying they are equally frustrated with the shocking water situation in the town.
“The Ethekwini municipality has failed in its duty to communicate to its tax paying citizens. The latest is that we have water cuts at night as well as during the day, which was never communicated to us.”
Councillor Geoff Pullan said the Lower Tugela Bulk Water Supply Scheme pipeline being led from the Tugela through to Ballito, will ease the Hazelmere Dam supply. This should improve Umdloti’s water situation in a few months time. Until then people need to conserve and harvest rainwater.
“Residents are doing their bit to save water. As I travel around the ward, I notice many new water tanks. The people have got the message, even if their leaders have not.”