The massive wastage of water in the Eastern Cape’s three biggest municipalities is going to continue to disrupt frustrated resident’s lives unless water infrastructure is maintained and installed. The staggering rate of water loss in Nelson Mandela Bay is 36%, 33% in BCM and 25% in KSD, according to a reply to a written question I asked the MEC for Cooperative Governance, Fikile Xasa.
People are angry with the wastage, the leaking pipes, the poor quality of water and the lack of regular supply. Recently, areas of Mthatha were without water for over a week and the Bhisho legislature was without water for two days last week. Residents of Despatch in Nelson Mandela Bay have also recently been victims, as has Cradock, Grahamstown and other parts of the province. Who’s next?
We need to fix the underlying problem so thousands of real jobs can be created by having functional municipalities that attract investment. This means putting much needed funds into infrastructure maintenance and development. This makes huge sense, if you consider the financial cost of wasted water is in the region of R7-billion country wide. (According to Themba Khumalo, Department of Water and Sanitation, The Herald, 2 September).
The current maintenance backlog for water infrastructure in each municipality was R260-million in NMBM, R490-million in BCM and R300-million in KSD. For this financial year only R126-million has been budgeted for in NMNB, R40-million in BCM and R16-million in KSD, according to the reply.
DA-governed municipalities will deliver freedom from poor water infrastructure by:
- implementing a water pipeline replacement programme expedited where leakages are worst;
- setting up a 24-hour call centre which dispatches repair teams which would fix burst pipes and leakages around the clock; and
- making use of pipeline camera technology that detects leaks and faulty water pipes, amongst other things.
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