'Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink'. Many residents have had no water since Saturday, following last week's load shedding.
Date: 17 December 2018 By: Jo Robinson
Louis Trichardt residents were breathing a sigh of relief at the prospect of no load shedding over the past weekend. Unfortunately, after a stressful week of several outages, many realised that it was going to be a weekend without water instead.
While not in actual darkness anymore, people were in the dark as to what was happening with the water supply and so contacted the newspaper for help. One resident said that she understood that having no power for long periods of time could affect the water supply, but wanted to know: “How is it that a few hours out on Thursday could end up with no water at all for days?”
The Zoutpansberger spoke to several residents concerning this latest in a long and regular history of water crises in Louis Trichardt, power outages notwithstanding. At the time of our going to press, many parts of Louis Trichardt remained without water. The spokesperson for the Vhembe District Municipality, Mr Matodzi Ralushai, once again failed to respond to the questions in the email sent to him and did not reply when the newspaper tried to phone him either.
Local Democratic Alliance (DA) representative Mr Brian du Plooy stated that the water stoppage was due to a “power outage at the Albasini Water Treatment plant” last week. On Tuesday, he stated that supply had been restored, although residents in higher-lying areas would have to wait longer to see water coming out of their taps.
Residents of Louis Trichardt, while getting angrier at these regular periods without water, are as resilient as always and shared a few of the ways that they cope with the challenges of the times. Not everyone has a borehole, and not everyone can afford to purchase the large outside water tanks or the pumps that go with them that many people now consider standard.
One forward-planning local stores lots of smaller plastic containers full of tap water along the walls of her garage. This is a cheap way to ensure that you always have some back-up water in case of an unexpected stoppage. Another resident, who lives in a flat and so does not have the space to have a large water tank, has bought a smaller one that fits nicely in a corner of her bathroom. These tanks are available in very manageable sizes at reasonable prices at hardware outlets.
All the residents that the Zoutpansberger spoke to have their own tips for surviving load shedding as well as water shortages. These included more than simply stocking up on candles, matches, and tins of baked beans.
Yolanda Cronje, co-owner of Free Living in Louis Trichardt, who supplies food for the health conscious as well as the gluten- or sugar-intolerant, suggested that when you know that load shedding is a possibility, a little forward planning can go a long way. Buy what you will need to make cold meat and salad platters. If the weather is cold, use a slow cooker to prepare a warm meal while you are at work, or freeze prepared food that can be quickly reheated after thawing on a gas stove or small braai fire.
Louis Trichardt residents have made many changes to make their lives easier, and with the probability of more load shedding, as well as more water outages, everyone agrees that there are always ways to make life a little easier for when that happens. Some local eateries use gas stoves and serve meals by candlelight. Many local shops stock large varieties of solar- or battery-powered lighting and cellphone chargers. Keeping plastic containers of frozen water in your freezer is useful, both for helping your fridge stay cold on hot days when the power is off and for having extra to drink if the water goes off afterwards.
All residents that we spoke to agreed that being prepared is better than being caught off guard, and some said that sometimes not having a choice about getting back to nature a little without all the noise of modern life was not always a bad thing.
Jo joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2018 pursuing a career in journalism after many years of writing fiction and non-fiction for other sectors.