Gushing Maitlands pipeline to be closed for repairs as water restrictions loom


The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has confirmed it will be shutting down the Maitlands pipeline feeding water from the Churchill dam to the Metro this coming Wednesday, following the detection of a leak on the line’s western side earlier this week.

Addressing the media at the Lilian Diedericks building in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon, Metro Executive Athol Trollip, flanked by Acting City Manager Johann Mettler and Executive Director for Infrastructure and Engineering Walter Shaidi, said while it expects the leak, allegedly caused by raptured seal, to be fixed within the next two days, residents must use water sparingly to ease dwindling reserves.

“We cannot life without water and we as a municipality understand that we have to share the water resources with the farming community outside Nelson Mandela Bay, and provide water to municipalities outside Nelson Mandela Bay,” Trollip said.

“We have been discussing ways to augment supply with the Nooitgedacht low level water scheme and once the third phase [of this project] has been completed, we believe we will have enough water even in an emergency situation”.

Areas likely to be hardest hit by the shutdown include Kini Bay and Blue Horizon Bay, as well as immediate surrounding areas.

Trollip however stated that the municipality would implement water restrictions in the coming days, although the requirements would be basic such as a ban on using hosepipes to wash vehicles.

“If we have cooperation from citizens, we will not have to go to punitive restrictions, which will likely have a financial implication especially on the poorest of the poor. We don’t want people to be compromised without water or pay a punitive amount,” Trollip continued.

“We therefore appeal to the public to please support us over the next two days, especially in the Maitland pipeline area where they might be without water, that they make provisions for drinking water and that thereafter, when we call for limited water restrictions, that we all do what we can do conserve this resource. If we don’t manage, we will a crisis come summer”.

He reaffirmed that the municipality remains committed to its best in conversing water, but that residents will have a key role to play too.

Asked about complaints in turnaround times resolving leaks in various parts of the Metro, Trollip said the Department has initiated a programme to train more plumbers, and that is hopes to fill vacancies in areas worst affected such as Uitenhage and Despatch.

“We are in the process of trying fil critical scares skills like plumbers and engineers. It is unacceptable for water to run for days, so we want to improve the turnaround time from reporting to fixing. Some are easy to fix and others not, but we will make this priority to ensure that high end users like industry and residents are not without water”.


CAPTION: Nelson Mandela Bay Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip (centre), announces the closure of the leaking Maitlands water pipeline for the carrying out of repairs. Seated (L-R) is Acting City Manager Johann Mettler and Executive Director for Infrastructure and Engineering Walter Shaidi.