Water wastage in Mpumalanga raises eyebrows

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GK CRONJE

6 April 2021

Albert Luthuli Local Municipality’s water loss increased from 15% to a whopping 51% in the 2018/19 financial year.

Suzuki Ermelo (WEB) 22 September 2020.jp

For several years, Mpumalanga’s municipalities have been affected by old and dilapidated water infrastructure, which in turn affects the provision of water, as is the case in Lekwa and Thaba Chweu local municipalities. The Democratic Alliance (DA) have written to the Premier, asking her to ensure that the 2% which is ringfenced from all of the Department's budgets for maintenance of existing infrastructure, is used to deal with the issues of old and dilapidated water infrastructure in municipalities. Having access to a stable water supply plays a pivotal role in our daily lives.

Having stable access to a water source drives the agricultural sectors, abattoirs, food processing plants and supports heavy industries in our province. The distribution of water in Mpumalanga is also hampered further by debt which is owed to external entities such as Rand Water. Rand Water, in turn, implement water throttling and water pressure reductions for outstanding amounts. In Lekwa Local Municipality, the inability to provide a stable water source affected companies such as Astral Foods. In the case of Astral Foods, the shortage of water cost the company close to R100 million, and threatens the job security of the workers.

Water losses through leaks and old dilapidated infrastructure caused Lekwa Local Municipality to lose 83% of the total water that was purchased in the 2018/19 financial year. Thaba Chweu Local Municipality’s water losses increased from 66% in 2017/18, to 69% in the 2018/19 financial year. Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Municipality increased from losing 29% of the total water purchased in 2017/18, to a worrying 61% in the 2018/19 financial year, and Albert Luthuli Local Municipality’s water loss increased from 15% in the 2017/18 financial year, to a whopping 51% in the 2018/19 financial year.

The DA’s COGTA representative will also investigate water outages and wastage in Msukaligwa Local Municipality. Residents in Ermelo, Breyten, Chrissiesmeer and surroundings are urged to report their water issues, be it wastage or water outages, by sending a WhatsApp to 071 885 2505, or by sending an e-mail to editor@highveldtribune.com. If possible, these reports may include photos, and an exact address or area where the issue is experienced must be included.