Portland families act to save water

Mikhail Abrahams, 11, about to throw water on a car to be washed.

Six Portland families bonded through their efforts to save water and make the most of this natural resource, which is in short supply, after their water meters were stolen.

When Anouk Fisher and her husband woke up for fajr (morning prayers) at about 4.30am on Saturday February 25, they found there was no water in their taps.

Then, a neighbour walked past their house shouting there was water gushing from their drain outside, on the pavement.

“We called the council, who responded within minutes,” she said.

They were close by as three water meters and stopcocks had been stolen in the Block B, between Hazeldene Avenue, Copenhagen Way, Amsterdam Way and Miami Way, in Portland, that morning.

The officials assessed the situation and advised the residents to either collect the water or have it turned off until workers could repair the damage.

“We decided to save the water and spring clean,” said Ms Fisher.

“We watered our gardens, we washed windows, cars, dishes, mopped the floors and cleaned the park,” she said.

Ms Fisher said they were without water for about seven hours but the neighbours enjoyed themselves being outside and talking to each other.

“The children had so much fun with the water and getting to see things shine and sparkle,” she said.

They also used the water to flush the toilets while repairs were under way and their water supply was disconnected.

Stuart Diamond, acting mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, could not confirm how many litres of water were lost but said the council had received four reports of stolen meters, two from Miami Way and two from Miami Close.

“The City replaced the stolen water meters and stopcocks at no expense to the residents,” he said.

Mr Diamond said in terms of the residents’ accounts, the City would do an estimation for the period of consumption for which they now have no record after the meters were stolen. “The estimation will be based on historical readings as well as a period of consumption on the replacement meter,” he said.