City’s late response leaves pensioner with no water

Maureen Buchler-Ketteringham, 86, of Crawford, says she was left without water for five days because the City of Cape Town dragged its feet to respond to her complaint.

An 86-year-old Crawford pensioner says she was left without water for five days because of the City of Cape Town’s tardy response to her complaint.

Maureen Buchler-Ketteringham, says her taps ran dry on Wednesday night January 8, and when she woke the next day to find her kitchen floor flooded, she called the City to complain.

The City had installed a prepaid water meter at her home in June last year.

“I did not want to have a prepaid water meter, but I was convinced to go for it. I was told because of my age, I will receive 350 litres of water a day for free, hence I agreed,” she said.

Suspecting the water meter was faulty, Ms Buchler-Ketteringham and her son, Russel Ketteringham, spent three days phoning and SMSing the City’s fault-reporting lines.

Then on Monday January 13, said Ms Buchler-Ketteringham, the City had sent out a contractor who had restored the water-supply, except for the kitchen, which remained without water until Thursday January 30.

Ms Buchler-Ketteringham said the City contractor had advised her to call her insurance company as he suspected an underground leak.

On Tuesday January 14, the insurance company’s plumber found a leak behind the kitchen cupboard where the sink is mounted.

The cupboard was removed to replace the pipes.

“I had a stroke, and I need to take my medication. I cannot take my medicine on an empty stomach,” Ms Buchler-Ketteringham said.

“I have been living in this house for 45 years, and I have a good relationship with my neighbours. My neighbours gave us water during this time. What would have happened to us if I did not have a good relationship with my neighbours?”

While the leak has now been fixed and the job covered by insurance, Mr Ketteringham said it was alarming that the City had taken five days to respond to his mother’s initial complaint.

“We get 350 litres of water a day, which kicks in every morning at 4am. When we woke up at 8am, the day’s allocation would be gone – within four hours the 350 litres were gone,” he said.

The Athlone News emailed the City on Friday January 24, asking why it had taken so long to respond to Ms Buchler-Ketteringham. However, after several requests for feedback, the City said it was still looking into the matter.