The Newcastle Municipality’s Department of Water Services held a three day water awareness campaign from the 5th to the 7th of April 2017, under the theme Water and Sanitation is a Human Right.
The main objective of the programme was to highlight the importance of preserving water and educate residents from the rural areas on the importance of yard connections, looking after infrastructure, illegal connections and the water status in Newcastle.
This is what saw the Department of Water Services visiting Lister Farm, Mndozo and Manzana.
Customer Relations Manager: Dr. Dumisani Thabethe said rural communities were the main target for this year as they have discovered that there are more illegal connections and residents are not aware of how to maintain toilets and report water loses in these areas
“We end up having more water losses in these areas, due to lack of awareness on the following; reporting of water problems, and honey sucker damage as a result of residents throwing disposable nappies and other foreign objects inside the toilets, “explained Thabethe.
Thabethe continued to remind residents about the water status of Newcastle from Charlestown, Normandien, Madadeni and Osizweni.
“We had a crisis in December last year where Ntshingwayo Dam was sitting at 40%. It was a difficult period and we ended up closing water and reopening the taps in the morning. We also had to reduce water consumption by 30% as per the directive by the Department of Water and Sanitation, “he stated.
Thabethe said Newcastle was fortunate enough for favorable weather conditions due to the recent heavy rains as the dam is currently sitting at 95%. He added however that this did not mean people should waste water.
“95% is nothing if we continue to waste water because we just might a have a drop to 10% as in the Western Cape which has been declared a disaster area because of the heavy drought,”he said.
P.R councilor Ruben Molelekwa said it would be sad if Newcastle had to run out of water that will require the provincial government to bring in trucks as it has been done in other towns.
“Let’s preserve water, without water there is no life, “added Molelekwa
He also added that ward councilors work tirelessly and go out of their way to ensure that services come closer to the people but if people vandalize and waste them, it becomes a setback for the municipality. He urged residents to take better care of water and other services as they will have no choice but to stop delivering in the same area as they are going around the same circle, he said.
Ntuthuko Madlala from customer care warned residents about the dangers of illegal connections and urged them to come forward and make applications for new connections at a cost of R1 900. The connection according to Madlala is a 21 working day process. He said it was important for each household to legally connect their own taps to avoid conflicts.
“When you connect illegally, you end up fighting with neighbors and it now becomes the burden of the municipality and the police while they were not there when you decided to break the law, “he said.
Madlala also reminded residents that if they connect legally, they have free access to services in case of leakages, residents can call the municipality to come and fix any problems.
The campaign ended on a high note as residents walked away with water buckets, t-shirts and water bottles after participating in a series of questions concerning water.