BRIEF | CAPE TOWN 

Some Cape Town homes without water at night as City tries to find right pressure

Councillor urges residents to report problems

Photo of water metre
Water leaks over a resident’s water metre in Ilitha Park. Photo: Trevor Bohatch
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Residents of Ilitha Park say their taps have been running dry every night for months. GroundUp spoke to several residents. Some believed it was because of the water shortage in Cape Town, others were not sure.

“From 7pm the water is cut off,” homeowner Fatimah Kiviet said. “Then at 4am the water comes back.”

Since the problem started in February, her family of three has resorted to filling a 20-litre bucket of water in the evening so they can drink, wash, and flush toilets during the night.

She also said her neighbours, who live further uphill, often don’t have water until as late as 6am, meaning they have already left for work. “We’ve really got a problem with water,” Kiviet said.

Several residents and homeowners said their taps also ran dry in the late evening. One homeowner, who had built flats in the rear of his property, said when water did return, the pressure was often too low to be useable.

In Cape Town, residents who cannot pay for their own water are limited to a daily consumption of 350 litres per day as “indigent” households. None of the residents GroundUp spoke to had “indigent” water metering devices on their properties.

Ward councillor Xolisa Peter said that she had not heard of the problems and encouraged residents to come to her office to lodge their complaints. “They need to come to my office and explain,” she said. “I can’t talk generally. I must talk about specific cases.”

Mayco Member for Water Xanthea Limberg said that residents in Ilitha Park were not experiencing water-shedding. “The City’s aim is to adjust our system so that as many people as possible are supplied at as low a pressure as possible. This may result in temporary supply interruptions, especially in high-lying areas of the supply zones,” she said.

She encouraged residents to report supply interruptions and said the City would “investigate” the situation.

“As we have never dropped pressure to this level before, finding the pressure range that works best unfortunately involves an element of trial and error,” she said.

Letters

Dear Editor

I am one of the residents of Ilitha Park, Khayelitsha who has been experiencing water cuts. My water shuts off from 21H30 in the evening to 04H00 in the morning and has been happening for some time now.

Dear Editor

I live in a 6 story building in Kensington and have been complaining to COCT and the mayor's office about the same problem since October 2016.

There are times that my husband and I have to call our respective employers to inform them that we won't be at work on time. Just yesterday, whilst getting ready for work at about 5.30am, we had no water. My husband could only leave home at 10am.

The complex management company, Farrelli has also been trying to get this matter resolved but COCT refuses to assist. Farrelli Holdings has informed COCT that, due to them (COCT) turning down the pressure in Kensington way too low, the water doesn't reach the 5th and 6th floors. And when we finally get water, it's a thin trickle that stops and goes, not even enough to fill a litre bottle.

The matter seemed resolved after speaking to an inspector at the Hillstar Depot, a Mr. Davids but it only lasted for a few days. It's been almost a year ago that this was brought under the attention of the city, yet nothing's been done.

What happens to us when a fire should break out in this huge residential complex and we're unable to use the fire extinguishes/hoses? Can we, as a complex contact the Health Dept.?

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