Gauteng and NW Province

Gauteng wastes R7.8bn worth of water

May 7 2013 at 10:39am
By BALDWIN NDABA
Johannesburg – Gauteng municipalities have collectively lost 480 980 000 kilolitres of water in the 2011/12 financial year, amounting to a staggering R7.84 billion in financial losses.
This is according to Gauteng MEC for Local Government and Housing Ntombi Mekgwe, who was responding to a question by DA spokesman on local government Fred Nel.
Mekgwe, in her response to the DA’s written questions, confirmed that the province was experiencing heavy water losses, saying it was mainly due to ageing infrastructure.
She provided the DA with the breakdown of water losses across all municipalities, with the Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni metropolitan councils found to be the worst offenders.
“Of great concern is the fact that water losses are on the increase, up from 35.9 percent in 2010/11, with the main culprits being the three metros, recording losses as follows in 2011/12: City of Joburg lost 206 020 000 kilolitres; Ekurhuleni 133 250 000; and Tshwane 77 290 000 kilolitres,” Nel said.
The worst losses were experienced by Emfuleni, which lost 42 990 000 kilolitres of its available 82 420 00 kilolitres of water.
A total of 480 980 000 kilolitres of water – the equivalent of 2.5 Hartbeespoort dams or 192 392 Olympic size swimming pools – were lost.
“MEC Mekgwe’s reasons point to a deterioration in the managerial capacity of municipalities in Gauteng as well as a deterioration in maintenance programmes.
“These water losses generate major financial losses for municipalities that are already financially stretched.
“The immediate target should be to arrest the increase in losses, and then to bring water losses down to 15 percent of all water purchased in Gauteng within two years.”
He said then minister of Water Affairs Lindiwe Hendricks warned in 2009 that Gauteng could start experiencing water shortages from 2013, and by 2025 would experience severe and widespread shortages.
“Water is a scarce resource in South Africa, and with the crisis in acid mine drainage in Gauteng, it’s becoming even more expensive to clean and more limited.
“Losses of such an important resource with rising demand due to urbanisation in Gauteng will significantly increase the price of water over the medium and longer term,” Nel warned.
He called upon Mekgwe to implement a programme of action to assist municipalities in Gauteng to limit water losses.
“If we fail to d

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