eThekwini municipality water woes could continue for 3 years before improving

The City has been flagged by the office of the auditor-general for losing about 52% of its freshwater annually due to leaks and burst pipes.

FILE: The municipality’s aging and poorly maintained water infrastructure has severely hampered its ability to ensure consistent water supply. Picture: EWN

DURBAN – Officials in the eThekwini municipality have said that residents affected by shoddy water services could wait up to three years before they see an improvement.

The City has been flagged by the office of the auditor-general for losing about 52% of its freshwater annually due to leaks and burst pipes.

This municipality has lost billions of rand in potential revenue as a result.

Thousands of people in eThekwini are now used to regular water cuts.

The municipality’s aging and poorly maintained water infrastructure has severely hampered its ability to ensure consistent water supply – particularly in rural and township communities where the demand has dramatically increased since the dawn of democracy.

The City’s head of water and sanitation Ednick Msweli said, “People’s lifestyles have changed significantly; the houses are now double storey and triple storey and the water infrastructure that’s on the ground now wasn’t designed for that level of service. So, it’s a big project now. We have to go back to all the rural areas.”

Msweli said it would cost R128 billion to revamp the City’s water infrastructure.

However, his department desperately needs R12 billion to address immediate challenges impeding the supply of water to communities.

He said, unfortunately, budget allocations to his department has averaged between 300 and 400 million rand in the past few years.

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