It's cheaper to flush clean water down the drain than fix the leaks
Joburg has set aside R3-billion to fix water leaks this year, but that will barely cover a fifth of the problem
The city of Johannesburg is beset with an average of 45,000 new water leaks a year – and it will cost an estimated R3-billion to reduce this figure by just 6,000.
Residents of Dunkeld are, however, growing increasingly fed up with a reservoir that, according to one long-time home-owner, has been leaking on and off for close to 10 years.
Times Select visited the reservoir in Kent Road on Wednesday and saw that, through a pipe running underneath a home adjacent to the reservoir, possibly thousands of litres of potable water were indeed flowing down Kent Road – disappearing into a storm water drain near Jan Smuts Avenue.June Came, who lives across the road from the reservoir, said she had reported the leak to Johannesburg Water again on Tuesday.
“For years we have been trying to get this issue fixed.”
Came and another resident, who did not want to be named, said officials would come every now and then to “patch” the leak, but the water would usually be flowing again freely within a few days.
“We were told there is no budget to fix the reservoir,” the resident said. “When we moved into our home six years ago, the water was flowing like a river down the road. To this day, it is the same.”The reservoir supplies Dunkeld, parts of Craighall and Parkhurst.
Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said in his State of the City address last month that the city’s reticulation system had sprung 45,000 leaks in the 2016/2017 financial year.
During the budget presentation last week, the city announced that R3-billion had been set aside for Johannesburg Water to bring the number of leaks down by 6,000 .
The agency has a total operational budget of just over R9.6-billion for the 2017/2018 financial year – some of which will have to be implemented to resolve the serious backlog of infrastructure development.
Joburg Water did not respond to questions from Times Select this week.However Ward 90 councillor Martin Williams said the Dunkeld Reservoir has been leaking for many years, and that he was aware of numerous complaints preceding the start of his term in August 2016.
“It has been reported by me and by residents many times since then, including this week,” he said.
He pointed out that the water was seemingly flowing from an overflow pipe of some kind.
“Whether this is a leak or deliberately planned overflow, residents do not appreciate seeing such large amounts of clear water running down Kent Road,” Williams said.
“I don’t blame them, especially when there is so much focus on water-saving.”