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UD-Express
Major water leak left for eight months
John Steenhuisen together with DA spokesperson for infrastructure and engineering in the Bay, councillor Masixole Zinto during their visit to a water leak near Despatch. The lak has been reported eight months ago and was still not been unattended to. Photos: Razaan Plaatjies

DESPITE the reporting of a major water leak numerous times during the past eight months, it was left unattended to and resultingly a small estuary was formed on a farm.

The pipeline which lies about 1.5m underground, flows through the farm, from the Motherwell pump station distributing water to Uitenhage and Despatch.

In a bid to find a solution for the ongoing water leak problem in Nelson Mandela Bay, DA provincial leader Nqaba Bhanga and interim party leader John Steenhuisen recently visited the water leak near Eland Street, Despatch.

“This is not a dam or an estuary, this is clean water that we are supposed to use,” said Bhanga.

“Stop blaming the residents for water shortage. This leak is an example of negligence and mismanagement by the municipality which for the past eight months has failed to fix it.”

According to him, the farm owner has reported the water leak which has affected his ability to access various sections of his farming land, but the issue has still not been resolved.

“In NMB we have not reached day zero, we have reached day incompetence,” said Bhanga.

He said there are more than 6 000 water leaks in NMB and part of the problem with water pressure in Uitenhage and Despatch is a result of water leaks like these.

For the past eight months water has been leaking from a pipe which distributes water from the Motherwell pump station to Uitenhage and Despatch.

According to Bhanga, there are no contracted plumbers to deal with water leaks and the city’s water chemical contract which was meant to be renewed in December last year has instead been irregularly extended to December this year.

“If the municipality was serious about water management they would have had a water strategy in place. They would not allow some of these contracts to continue without proper management,” said Bhanga.

In a crucial time when taps are running dry, Steenhuisen said owing to water leaks, NMB loses 46% of its water.

“Almost half of the water that NMB pays for, never gets out to the consumers owing to water leaks,” said Steenhuisen.

“NMB average water consumption is 290 mega litres, but if the municipality was able to fix half of the leaks it would bring the average down dramatically.”

He said water management focused on supply and demand management and required technical engineers, water engineers and plumbers.

“You cannot have municipal infrastructure if you do not have a maintenance plan to follow it. A lot of the infrastructure is aging and there should be a wholesale replacement process of aging infrastructure, concrete pipes and steel pipes.

“There is very little communication from the city and no partnership building between residents and the municipality. The city needs to make citizens stakeholders in ensuring a reduction in water consumption.”

Steenhuisen said they have called on the Department of Water and Sanitation to provide the metro with efficient water engineers.

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