WATER LOSS COSTING MUNICIPALITY OVER R160m ANNUALLY
By: Gift Nyamapfene
The eThekwini Municipality is currently paying an excess of R163.6 million towards non-revenue water annually, the city’s management reported.
Non-revenue-water is water that has been produced and is lost before it reaches the customer.
Reports from the municipal management say that the trend is growing by approximately 2% year-on-year. The executive committee (EXCO) said that it was troubled by the continued rise in water loss. The latest figures indicate that non-revenue water has risen from 34% to 37%.
Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Nigel Gumede, said illegal connections and the mushrooming of informal settlements further complicated the problem.
“People need to learn to use water sparingly, and they need to be properly trained about how to detect water leakages because water will soon become an expensive commodity if nothing is done to conserve it,” said Gumede.
EXCO urged city manager, Sibusiso Sithole to take all possible measures to deal with the water loss. Resolutions brought to the table were the use of technology and local communities to detect and fix water leaks.
Sithole said the administration was exploring all possible remedies and 55 people had been employed to detect water leakages.
“We have to try and use every available mechanism to save water, and that is why we now have hired people to detect water leakages where they use a GPS to map the exact location of the leak and this enables our maintenance teams to immediately attend to where a leakage has been identified,” said Sithole.
He said the municipality was also looking at models from other cities as to how they were dealing with the issue of non-revenue water. EXCO issued a stern warning to land invaders who allegedly continue to occupy pieces of land illegally in different areas in the city.
Sithole warned that the municipality would continue its effort to demolish illegal structures and was looking at strengthening the Land Invasion Unit.
“We need to send a strong message that we cannot allow people to do as they please and expect to jump the queue ahead of other people who are waiting for houses and services,” he said.