Moorton residents rally against water cuts

Some of the residents who attended the meeting.

More than 200 concerned and irate residents joined hands together and formed a human chain to stand their ground against water restrictions commencing from 7pm at the reservoir situated on Skyridge Circle in Moorton, last week.

According to concerned member of the Moorton community, Sham Dhanpaul, the water restrictions initially began at 9pm, however without a warning, the restriction time was moved up to 7pm.

“This deeply angered residents because most community members are only returning home at this time.  The water restrictions totally disrupt our daily lives, as people need to bath and cook.  After several failed attempts to contact the municipality, the community rallied together and decided to stop the cuts from taking place.  At about 7pm, a municipality official came to the reservoir to cut off the water and when the community intervened, the official said that he would inform his boss and come back at 9pm.  However, they did not return and we had water for the rest of the night and the same process followed last Wednesday,” claimed Dhanpaul.

While residents understand that there is an ongoing drought in the country, they feel that it is unfair and unjust that only certain communities are being targeted.  “Our plight is that the municipality is only shutting off water in a few areas. As residents, we are fed up and appeal to the municipality to relook their decision as it is unfair,” added Dhanpaul.

Meanwhile, the municipality stated that the water cuts have been restarted after the holiday season.  The times for the daily shutdowns are now 7pm to 6am.  All 124 reservoirs serving the city are being shut down. This means all wards and all areas are affected.

“Due to the laws of gravity, different areas are affected differently. When the water is shut at the reservoir, there are still thousands of litres of water in the pipes. As this water gets used, the levels go down. This means that people higher up run out of water first. As the levels drop, the people below get affected. The opposite is thus also true. When the reservoir is opened, the pipes need to fill up first. This means people lower down will have water first. This unfortunately means people living higher up and closer to the reservoir are the first to lose their water and the last to get it back. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent this,” the municipality explained.

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The report further read,  “This also means, due to lower use during these times, people living in low lying area, might have water until very late at night, creating the impression that they are not being shut off.  The situation is very serious. Our catchment dams have risen with the rains, but not by nearly enough. The rainy season for the catchment area is almost over, and this means that this current situation might continue for many months ahead. Some residents have raised concerns regarding the milkiness of water in the mornings. Our water is tested regularly and our water is still safe to drink. The milkiness is air in the water as a side effect to the shutdown. If you fill a glass and it is milky, let it stand for a bit, and you will see the air dissipate and the water will become clear.”

Due to the dam levels not picking up, the eThekwini Water and Sanitation have implemented stage three restrictions and the schedule is as follows:

Stages frequency times durations

  • Stage one daily night shuts – 9pm to 4am (7 hours)
  • Stage two daily night shuts – 7pm to 4am (9 hours)
  • Stage three daily night shuts – 7pm to 6pm (11 hours)
  • Stage four daily interruptions during the day to be confirmed.

The municipality urges all residents to refrain from using sprinklers and hosepipes to fill their pool or wash their vehicles during this dire situation.


Bianca Lalbahadur

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