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Gauteng's aging supply system in spotlight as water crisis persists

Rand Water claims all of Gauteng’s municipalities are years behind schedule in upgrading old infrastructure.

FILE: Coronationville residents waiting for a water tanker to arrive to collect water in containers on 11 November 2015. Picture: Dineo Bendile/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Rand Water has accused Gauteng municipalities of dragging their heels in upgrading the province's water supply system even though the utility is investing a billion rand a year.

WATCH: Taps run dry in some JHB suburbs

Rand Water claims all of Gauteng's municipalities are years behind schedule in fixing leaking pipes and installing new equipment.

As a result, up to a quarter of the province's water supplies are lost every year because of leaks and wastage.

LISTEN: South Africans weigh in on water crisis

Government has admitted that aging infrastructure is a widespread problem in Gauteng, but denies the problem is to blame for the current shortages.

Rand Water's Sipho Mosai said the utility is currently spending a billion rand on upgrades every year and over the next five years, it will spend even more.

"We've never spent anything less than 95 percent of our capex. We're going to spend R18 billion in the next five years just to replace our infrastructure. The municipalities must follow suit."

Mosai says municipalities must find a way to catch up.

"Every municipality must have a programme to replace ageing infrastructure. They do, but at the rate that we need to catch up, and the funds that are available at the municipalities, did not tally up."

Water experts have blamed the current shortages on a lack of planning, but provincial government claims that the current heatwave has led to an increase in water consumption.

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