White River deprived of potable water

Issued by Rowan Torr – DA Councilor City of Mbombela
17 Jan 2023 in Press Releases

The DA in White River is concerned with the operational service, the water being pumped to the main elevated reservoir systems and quality of potable water provided. 

The continuous load reduction has exposed the weakness of the municipality’s infrastructure. For the past two years, the municipality has been failing to provide clean water to the residents of White River.

These are the water challenges that White River is faced with:

  • Old infrastructure pump stations, water treatment plants and reservoirs have not been maintained. 
  • Water is conveyed in asbestos pipes that can no longer retain the needed high-water pressures
  •  A foul smell and taste from tap water. This can be attributed to the sudden change in the type of flocculant chemical which the council is now using to dose the quality water.
  • Mismanagement of funds from the Department of Water & Sanitation 
  • Due to the fact that there is no constant supply of water, the underground reservoir has not been flushed out to remove a collection of sludge and silt.  

The municipality’s failure to maintain their reservoirs and pump stations has violated the right of access to clean drinking water for residents of this town. 

With the flow of water being continuously disrupted, the sewer systems spill throughout town. Residents in their respective households are also subjected to raw sewage running from leaking manholes in gardens, streets and into the storm water drains.

This goes all the way into designated rivers and dams. Residents are being exposed to possible diseases such as diarrhea, cholera and polio. 

Through our constant communication with the relevant departments in the municipality, we have gathered that there is no plan that has been made to counter all these challenges. 

Even more concerning, none of the pump stations has emergency generators. It remains unclear as to why the municipality has been reluctant in procuring generators.

The Department of Water & Sanitation in the municipality should consider hiring skilled engineers to address these challenges.

The DA has written to the municipal manager, Wiseman Khumalo, requesting him and the relevant department to urgently formulate a plan to deal with water challenges for White River.