A THIRD of Buffalo City Metro’s water went to waste in the past year.
This was revealed in a written response by the local governance and traditional affairs MEC Fikile Xasa to parliamentary questions asked by the DA shadow MEC for finance Bobby Stevenson.
The rate of water loss for the 2014-2015 financial year in BCM was 33%.
King Sabata Dalindyebo (KSD) municipality lost 25% to waste.
Ageing infrastructure, illegal water connections and leakages were some of the issues cited as contributing to the water losses.
“If water losses are not dealt with, the next crisis after loadshedding will be water-shedding,” Stevenson said.
The response from Xasa comes months after the Daily Dispatch reported on a series of water outages around Mthatha and in East London, caused by burst pipes and infrastructure vandalism.
The Dispatch also reported on water leaks in Duncan Village, where a communal tap had been leaking an estimated 10 000kl of drinking water a year for two years. The tap was fixed a few days later.
A reply to questions sent to BCM on the matter had not been received at the time of writing.
However, a report on water loss in the draft medium-term revenue and expenditure framework (MTREF) budget stated the reasons as ageing infrastructure, areas of flat-rated charges and “financially challenged” consumers using more water than allowed for in the indigent policy.
The draft report further stated that an additional capital funding of R120-million over the MTREF period from 2014-2015 to 2016-17 had been allocated to a five-year programme of replacing ageing infrastructure.
Stevenson said this was not enough to reverse the R490-million water infrastructure maintenance and repair backlog in BCM.
Responding on what measures had been undertaken to address water demand and consumption, Xasa referred to the planned treatment works in King William’s Town and the upgrading of the Mzonyana treatment works.
KSD municipal spokesman Sonwabo Mampoza said: “The bulk water infrastructure project which started in 2012 is under way and this will be followed by the upgrading of Thornhill treatment works.” —