Gauteng, and the rest of the country, is experiencing the worst drought in 23 years.
In Ekurhuleni this drought has been compounded by poor management by Rand Water and the Ekurhuleni Metro Municipality (EMM), which has resulted in water shortages in the municipality and many households’ taps running dry.
South Africans have for far too long suffered due to the failure by the ANC government at a national, provincial and local level.
The current water crisis in Ekurhuleni could have been avoided had Rand Water implemented the plan they presented to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation on 25 February 2015.
Given the water crisis that hit Ekurhuleni last year September one would have expected Rand Water to implement their own solutions as a matter of urgency.
In addition it is unacceptable that Ekurhuleni Metro still have not implemented a Telemetry System (a computer system) that would immediately alert them when reservoirs are running low. The days of using sticks to determine water levels are long gone.
The DA has therefore launched a petition calling on both Rand Water and the Ekurhuleni Metro to appear before the Portfolio Committee on Water and Sanitation in order to provide details and timeframes as to when:
- Rand Water will install independent power supplies at all of its pump stations; and
- Ekurhuleni Metro will implement the computerised telemetry system.
Rand Water and the Ekurhuleni Metro also need to provide their action plan to repair and maintain water infrastructure as Ekurhuleni is losing 39.8% of its water on a yearly basis and the reasons why the financial statements submitted to Gauteng Treasury showed that at the end of the 2014/15 financial year in June, the Ekurhuleni Metro had only spent 48% of the R127 million budgeted for waste water management and had failed to spend 46% of the R333 million allocated to water services.
The DA’s petition can be signed online: www.petitions24.com/water_crisis
To ensure a secure water supply in Ekurhuleni, even in time of drought, the DA would implement the following steps:
- Ensure Rand Water’s pump station has an independent power supply so that the station can always pump water;
- Ensure that the Ekurhuleni Metro implements a telemetry (computer) system which will alert them when reservoirs are running low;
- Set up a water-crisis war room to allocate scarce water resources as an immediate priority to avoid water outages; and
- Implement a water maintenance plan, to ensure water loss through leaks is mitigated.
The DA run City of Cape Town loses the least amount of water due to leakages of all metro’s in South Africa with a loss of 16.4% vs a 37.8% loss in the Ekurhuleni Metro.
The DA also has a 10-point plan to fight the water crisis at a national government level:
- Implement a water pipeline replacement Programme, which is expedited where leakages are worst;
- Set up a 24 hour call centre, which dispatches repair teams that will fix burst pipes and leakages around the clock;
- Install special pressure-reducing valves at key points in the water network in order to reduce water pressure in designated water zones;
- Legislate the use of non-potable water for irrigation in all municipalities in the country;
- Install water allocation devices, which ensure that indigent homes use their free allocation;
- Make use of existing pipeline camera technology that can detect leaks and faulty water pipes;
- Provide better free-allocation of water, to avoid illegal water connections;
- Ensure that every municipality sets up a system whereby leaking pipes are completely replaced after a set number of complaints by residents and not simply patched over and over again as well as implement a Gravity Feed water supply, and install generators at water pumps to circumvent load shedding water cuts;
- Implement punitive tariffs for businesses that overuse water, after negotiated limits are agreed to; and
- Increase mobile water tanker fleets, afforded by immediate cuts in wasteful and fruitless expenditure.
The DA is committed to ensuring that where we govern, all residents have access to water, which is their basic right.
Mike Waters MP
DA Deputy Chief Whip in Parliament
082 902 4523