Business and residents affected by irregular water outages

eThekwini Municipality plumbers and engineers attending to a broken sewer manhole in Welwitschia Avenue, Glen Anil, Durban. Picture: Supplied

eThekwini Municipality plumbers and engineers attending to a broken sewer manhole in Welwitschia Avenue, Glen Anil, Durban. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 12, 2024


Durban — eThekwini Municipality Ward 110 residents and businesses in Durban North have complained about ongoing water outages within the Durban North area.

Some said they have gone weeks without constant, pressured water. Business owner David Moran said that business had been severely affected due to infrastructure damage and as result, a decline in tourism.

He added, “I had no water from Tuesday but fortunately our business complex - Victoria Park - has a borehole, so when the municipal water goes down, we switch over. The surrounding area is suffering due to infrastructure, pipes and valves should have been replaced a while ago.”

Moran added that he had seen leaks between La Lucia where he stayed and Glen Anil where he worked for the past three years. He said thousands of litres were being lost and if it could somehow be billed, that money could fund repairing and replacing ageing infrastructure.

He said theft of water metres was another issue and one could wait for months before they were replaced.

Another resident, Claire Skev, said, “There definitely seems to be some sort of water shedding because it came on around 10pm on Tuesday night and then by 6am, it was pretty much gone. Pressure was low but we had water.”

On Tuesday, ward 110 councillor Aamir Abdul provided residents with an update and said the water control centre was not able to say when water would be restored.

He said, “I have requested another on site meeting with the water department to physically check on valves.”

Abdul also addressed residents’ confusion regarding the difference between a Pressure Reducing Valve (PRV) and Regular Water Valve.

A Pressure Reticulation Valve (PRV) and a Normal Water Turn-off Valve (often just referred to as a shut-off valve) serve different purposes in a plumbing system. Here's a breakdown of their differences:

1. Function:

Pressure Reticulation Valve (PRV):* This valve regulates and maintains a constant downstream pressure regardless of variations in upstream pressure. It is used to control water pressure in a system, ensuring it stays within a desired range to prevent damage to plumbing fixtures and pipes.

Normal Water Turn-off Valve: This valve simply stops the flow of water. It is used to completely shut off the water supply to a section of the plumbing system, typically for maintenance or in case of a leak.

2. Operation:

PRV: Automatically adjusts to maintain a preset pressure level. It can open or close incrementally to regulate flow and maintain consistent pressure.

Normal Water Turn-off Valve:* Operates manually, usually by turning a handle or a lever to open or close the valve completely.

3. Design and Complexity:

PRV: More complex, containing internal mechanisms like diaphragms, springs, and adjustable screws to control pressure.

Normal Water Turn-off Valve: Simpler in design, typically just a gate, ball, or globe valve mechanism that opens or closes to allow or stop the flow of water.

4. Usage:

PRV: Used in systems where pressure regulation is crucial, such as in high-rise buildings, irrigation systems, and areas with fluctuating water supply pressures.

Normal Water Turn-off Valve: Found in residential plumbing, near fixtures, appliances, or main supply lines for isolating sections of the system.

5. Installation Location:

PRV: Installed at points where pressure needs to be controlled, often near the main water entry point or before sensitive fixtures.

Normal Water Turn-off Valve: Installed at various points throughout the plumbing system, such as under sinks, near toilets, and at the main water supply entry to the building.

“In summary, while a PRV is designed to maintain a specific pressure level within the plumbing system, a normal water turn-off valve is meant to simply start or stop the flow of water. Based on the above information and previous issues we have had in the ward it seems like this problem is caused by a faulty PRV,” Abdul said.

eThekwini spokesperson Gugu Sisilana spoke on the Northern Aqueduct: “The commissioning of the new Northern Aqueduct Augmentation has commenced. This pipeline interconnects to the existing aqueduct and aims to provide an increased supply of water to areas in the north, including new developments.

“The existing Northern Aqueduct is a network of bulk supply pipelines that conveys water from the Durban Heights Treatment Works and supplies water to reservoirs in the north. This pipeline has been operating at maximum capacity and with the increased developments, including residential and commercial, there was a need for the implementation of the Aqueduct Augmentation.

“This is part of the City’s interventions to reduce intermittent water supply while plans to augment permanent water security through the construction of the Umkhomazi Dam is under way,” she said.

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