Smallholding residents struggle for years to get reliable water delivery

Keith Prentis says he has not had running water on his smallholding in Colleen Glen for nearly three years
TAPS RUN DRY: Keith Prentis says he has not had running water on his smallholding in Colleen Glen for nearly three years

For nearly three years, residents of a smallholding community in Colleen Glen have had to cart their water, while anxiously relying on rain water tanks to sustain them through extended dry spells.

This predicament arose after a flow reversal in the Seaview-Greenbushes pipeline by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality left residents without a reliable water supply.

The reversal of the Seaview-Greenbushes pipeline was part of a drought mitigation strategy.

However, this reduced water pressure in the line and affected five houses that are connected to the bulk transfer pipeline.

Connection to the area was then moved to the Seaview pump station, but since the realignment, the residents say they have virtually had no water.

They say they have co-operated with the municipality, even trying to find alternative water sources.

Having no water since the drought is over they say is intolerable while they continue paying taxes.

Keith Prentis, who took out a R75,000 extension on his bond to get a borehole connection for the area, said it was unreasonable that they continue to pay rates while the municipality did not deliver services.

“We have all been trying to find ways we can help.

“We are paying rates and taxes even though we are getting nothing from the municipality because our sewage goes into a septic tank.

“I have been religiously paying R3,740 for years because I don’t think not paying rates will help because the reality is that there are problems everywhere you go.”

Since 2021, Prentis said he had roped in the ward councillor Jason Grobbelaar and sent multiple emails to the municipality.

While officials had come to the properties many times, nothing had changed.

“Last week, they said a pump was installed but the water is trickling out of one tap and that is the lowest on the property.

'I don’t think the other properties are getting anything,” he said.

With the summer rains now past, neighbour Rueben Oberholster said even with his nine rain water tanks, he cannot  afford a long period without rain.

“We do not like complaining but it’s been three years of struggling to get water.

“I have nine tanks which can last me up to four months.”

At the height of the drought and before the pipeline reversal, the houses would go three weeks at a time without water.

“I have children and animals and sometimes I have to pump water out of the swimming pool to make sure we have water for the dry months.

“I can’t afford to install more tanks.

“We have been told that a pump needs to be installed, but I don’t know how that can take up to four years to sort out.”

Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said intense troubleshooting by the water services department had not ascertained the fault.

“As per metro policy, consumers supplied from bulk pipelines must have two-day on-site storage as these pipes are not designed for reticulation,” he said.

“Our distribution management continues to work on the challenge.

“Part of their work includes flushing the lines with external pumps and surveying to check the static pressure conditions.

“It must be emphasised though that the metro still stands by its commitment to deliver water to the affected consumers.”



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