Hydrants stolen, what next?

TWO fire hydrants were stolen between 11pm on Sunday night and 8am on Monday morning releasing thousands of litres of water into the streets.

One of the hydrants was stolen from Stretch Crescent, close to the Total filling station, and the other was stolen from Heeren Street, in the vicinity of the Dog Unit.

This came as a heavy blow to Vryheids residents, many of whom have been without running water for a year.

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Those who continue to depend on the water collection points for water had to queue for up to three hours for the water supply to be restored, when the reservoirs ran empty yesterday.

“Town’s water reservoir was drained because of fire hydrants being stolen. We can’t carry on like this. We cannot afford to lose millions of litres of water. Bloemveld’s level has started dropping and winter is coming,” said AfriForum’s André van der Walt.

“We would like to recommend that the network be closed again, and proper repairs be carried out once the finances are available. One pump from Klipfontein is apparently being repaired. We should close water from Bloemveld and pump from Klipfontein before water is released to Ulundi. Utilise Klipfontein water while it is available and spare Bloemveld for the winter. If we carry on like this, we will drain Bloemveld and cause big problems for the coming winter.”

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Roland Marx from the Water Department said the stolen hydrants had little impact on the level of the reservoir but confirmed that Bloemveld Dam, which is currently supplying Vryheid, could not cope with the water demand since supply was restored to Lakeside as well.

Water supply to the collection points was restored by 1pm on Monday afternoon.

One of four defective pumps at Klipfontein Dam is expected to be repaired by the time this newspaper is in print, which will enable water supply to be restored at full pressure once Klipfontein is able to supply the town.

Old asbestos pipes that burst beneath the new High Street bridge will also have to be replaced with new PVC piping. While the repairs are underway, water supply to the industrial area, Bhekuzulu and part of the CBD will be affected. Residents are also urged to take note that the new High Street bridge will be closed to traffic, and motorists need to use an alternate route until repairs are complete.

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