GRAHAMSTOWN'S lengthy water shortage that threatened to close down Rhodes University received priority attention at the highest level.
President Jacob Zuma's office said yesterday they had "initiated a number of interventions" since last week to try to solve the problem.
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj said they had acted as soon as they heard the taps had run dry.
The interventions began a day after Rhodes vice-chancellor Dr Saleem Badat led a march to the Makana City Hall by more than 1000 outraged staff, students and residents last Wednesday.
They claimed the campus was fast becoming a health risk and might have to close until the crisis was resolved.
During the march, Badat handed over an open letter to Makana mayor Zamuxolo Peter, copied to the ministry of higher education and training, detailing "the utter failure of our municipality to deal effectively and efficiently with the crisis in water provision at our university and parts of town".
Maharaj said the Presidency got involvedafter receiving a complaint from a member of the public. The interventions included informing the ministry of water affairs about the outage and contacting key Makana municipal officials and Rhodes leadership.
Over the past two weeks, Grahamstown's Waainek water treatment works has been plagued by a series of equipment breakdowns and a power failure.
"The municipality is looking at procuring new pumps as the two existing pumps, which were purchased in 1962, will continue to give problems," Maharaj said.
Water had finally been restored at the six residences after two weeks, according to an e-mail sent around the campus by dean of students Dr Vivian de Klerk yesterday.
"Officials are optimistic that the water pressure will normalise by the end of the day, but the regional director of water affairs has emphasised that the Waainek pump remains extremely vulnerable to further breakdowns," she said.
Rhodes University executive director of infrastructure, operations and finance, Dr Iain L'Ange, said: "The university is very gratified that the president's office is actively monitoring the issue."