The city needs about R550million a year to eliminate the backlog of required water infrastructure and maintain the upgrades. About R180-million was allocated in the 2012/13 budget for both maintenance and upgrades.

The DA and the municipality are at loggerheads over the cause of the pipes collapsing.

The DA’s shadow MEC for local government, Dacre Haddon, said yesterday: “The crumbling infrastructure in the metro, which led to this weekend’s water shortage, shows negligence on the part of the municipality.”

He called for an investigation to determine the exact cause of the near-disaster.

“If it is found that there has been negligence in the municipality’s water department, heads must roll,” Haddon said.

“Was sufficient warning not given to the engineering directorate of the possibility of such a crisis happening in the future from previous floods?”

Baron said the pipes had collapsed because of a host of problems. “Soil erosion, leaks, the wind and because officials were dealing with the floods. All of this played a part in the pipes collapsing,” he said.

“We were just unlucky . . . it was a natural occurrence.”