War against wasted water

Pretoria has declared war against the waste of precious water through leaking pipes.

A string of measures to achieve this was announced by Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga this week.

“We are going to set up a 24-hour hotline and a sms line where people can call in when they are leaking pipes,” he told reporters in Pretoria on Monday.

He said the city was the second most wasteful city after Johannesburg when it came to the consumption of water.

Along with other Rand Water customers, Tshwane had failed miserably to achieve water saving targets imposed by the government in August.

They were introduced as there was no end in sight to country’s worst drought in more 20 years.

The targets compelled municipalities drawing water from the Vaal integrated river system to cut consumption by at least 15 percent.

Msimang said the overall saving by Rand Water municipalities since restrictions were imposed had come to a mere 2.7 percent.

This caused Rand Water to warn these customers last week their taps would rub dry if their consumption was not cut by at least 15 percent without delay.

“We have to start saving water and most of our water gets wasted through leaking pipes that go unreported and as such unfixed,” Msimanga said.

“We know some of the city’s infrastructure has really aged which makes matters even worse, but we will do our best.”

Msimanga announced that a response team had been established to address leaking pipes in the city.

“We have already established a team that will be on the clock 24/7,” he said.

“This will ensure that all leaking pipes are repaired in time and we avoid further water losses.”

Illegal water usage also presented an enormous problem.

“Another challenges is that we have a huge amount of water that we lose due to illegal connection and that water is unaccounted for,” said Msimanga.

“Dam levels continue to dwindle to unprecedented levels.”

The metro’s slow response to complaints about leaking pipes has become a common gripe of Pretoria residents on social media.

“I think this is more concerning when its takes hours to turn off the water supply to stop wastage… so who should be punished for poor and reckless behavior in a time of crisis?” asked said Odette Perry.

“This was last week in Doornpoort Cnr Amandelboom and Gambry Ave. Just after 2pm this tragedy started and only after 8:30pm was the water turned off.”

Another user bemoaned the waste of water without any accountability.

“All good…..how much water is wasted gushing out and running down the streets and is repaired only 24+ hrs later. Will any fines be imposed on Tshwane for not attending to this asap,” said Marry-Ann Smith.

In October last year, the metro said there had been a council resolution that water leakages should be repaired within 48 hours.

This was, however, impossible to achieve at the time as a result of staff shortages, a metro spokesman said.

Rekord newspaper has carried numerous reports in the past year or two of water going to waste because of major leaks.

A familiar theme was people complainng that about the tardy response of the metro in repairing leaks.

This has seen millions of litres of water literally going down the drain.

A recent example was leaking water meters in Block XX in Soshanguve.

No fewer than five leaking meters flooding the streets have been reported to the metro repeatedly.

A fire hydrant was also damaged and needed to be repaired. Local resident McDonalds Seanego told Rekord he had reported the problem several times.

“But the municipality takes a very long time to respond. Most of the time they do not help us at all.”

The mayor said the metro would make an announcement on the sms and hotline that residents can call into to report water leaks.

Also read:

Water crisis has arrived

Muddy street a nightmare

Residents protest over water shortage

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Ramaupi Makgoo

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