Burst pipes anger residents

Communal taps which provide free water in rural areas are often not maintained.

Despite fears of yet another dry winter, Kraaifontein residents were left with dry taps for 12 hours while water gushed down their streets following burst pipes last week.

Bonny Brook residents had water cuts three times in two weeks after underground pipe bursts in the neighbourhood’s streets.

The first was on Sunday March 31 in Komati Crescent, then on Wednesday, April 3, in Zambesi Street and on Wednesday April 10, in Sabie Road where they again had no water for 12 hours.

However, residents say being without water for long periods is no surprise to them as they experienced the same thing last November and December.

Cynthia Lagrange, 72, says bottled water has become part of her budget because sudden water cuts are not new in the area.

She needs water to take her chronic medication.

“It becomes frustrating when you wake up in the morning and you cannot use your water. This has a negative effect on my health because I stress and my blood pressure shoots through the roof,” she said.

She said she had sent many emails to ward councillor Gerhard Fourie, the City of Cape Town and mayor Dan Plato’s offices. “But no one has been much help,” she said.

The councillor had “promised the community new pipes”, she said.

Ms Lagrange flushes her toilet with rainwater she collects from the gutters of her home.

Thyrza Horn said it was no fun getting up early in the morning to beat the traffic to work only to find there was no water to get ready

“It becomes very stressful when you find that your water is turned off at around four in the morning. I especially wake up to get going without rushing and stressing, but this becomes a setback,” she said.

Boiling the kettle repeatedly for hot water to cook, take a bath and make hot drinks had taken a toll on her electricity bill.

“For the 15 years that I have been living in Bonny Brook, we have not experienced this, only till last year when we experienced the same thing for two months,” she said.

She showed Northern News a list of differently dated emails to Mr Fourie asking for help to resolve the issue.

He responded by suggesting she contact the City of Cape Town’s emergency services number.

Last week the City urged residents to keep saving water as dam levels had dropped by 1.2% to 49.1%.

The City further encourages all residents to use water wisely.

Mr Fourie said he was aware of the “many frustrations” and complaints from residents since 2018.

He said new infrastructure upgrades were planned for the continuous burst pipes by the end of June, and the water and sanitation department was busy appointing a contractor to fix pipe cracking.

Bonny Brook and Zoo Park were the only areas in Kraaifontein with old pipes that needed to be replaced with new ones, he said.

Mayco member for water and waste, Xanthea Limberg said it was not unusual for the water to be off 12 hours as it depended on the nature of the incident and how many other areas were affected.

“Due to the number of variables involved the time for a burst pipe to be repaired can take up to 48 hours,” she said.

Infrastructure in Bonny Brook was earmarked for upgrading in the coming financial year.

“Most of the Kraaifontein region has already benefited from the City’s pipe replacement programme, but there are still a few remaining on the schedule.

“This programme makes use of trenchless technology for pipe replacements and the City is in the final stages of the process of appointing a contractor for this next phase.”