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Lack of water causes residents to lose faith in Joburg Water

An elderly resident was without water for six days before people started offering to help.

The spokesperson for Johannesburg Water (JW), Nolwazi Dhlamini said the budget for the current financial year is roughly R500 million for water and sewer upgrades.

“The allocated budget will focus on programmes geared towards water and sewer pipe replacement, upgrades and storage infrastructure, the Wastewater Treatment Works Programme, as well as repairs and maintenance.”

However, a resident of Crawford, Charles Smith is questioning why there were still meter bursts on every corner and pipe bursts every week. “It confuses me where this money goes if we have the same problems every week.

“An elderly resident at Van Gogh complex has been without water for six days,” he claimed. “She has reported it and never received feedback. This worries me because most elderly residents need to take medication, do they now have to go buy water to drink medication?
“It is frustrating that when areas do not have water, JW does not think about how it is affecting us as residents.” Smith said the service they receive is ridiculous as it takes JW more than two days to fix a simple pipe burst.

“Lots of water is being wasted. Can’t they close the water and fix it later so that this water is not wasted.” He gave examples of issues in the area. “A water meter burst in Crescent and no one is doing anything about it. The residents said they have been logging calls but no response. There are countless pipe bursts in the area including Crawford. Can JW take accountability and start attending to these calls?”

In response, Dhlamini said, “The standard response time for attending to a burst water pipe is 48 hours. However, these response times can fluctuate and be delayed according to the nature of the work/repairs that need to be done, the machinery needed, as well as the human labour needed. For example, the process of repairing includes the response team initiating an investigation into the issue, isolating the water supply and exposing the damaged pipe.
“Once the water flow is stopped, they proceed with assessing what kind of material is needed, sourcing the material, sometimes internal procurement processes are required and then finally repairing the pipe.”
She added in some cases, a welder or some other specialist may be needed to complete the work and may not be available on that specific team. “In such cases, that welder/specialist would need to be called in from another depot or team to assist, which further delays the process.”

A pipe burst in Fourways wastes large amounts of water.
A pipe burst in Fourways wastes large amounts of water.

Ward 94 councillor David Foley said he is elevating all the calls logged and is updating residents whenever he has a response. “Residents are always alerted when there is going to be no water. Like the Sandton Reservior which would be closed from 20:00 and opened again at 04:00 as part of the Rand Water management strategy due to higher than normal demand.” He said he does his level best to inform residents but JW also needs to communicate more with residents.

When asked about the recent lack of water in the area he answered, “The reason why residents have been without water the past few days is because of a pump station that was affected by lightning and another section where maintenance was required.
“We hope that things will get back to normal soon, as JW Water said they are working on it.

Related article: No hope for quick fix say Joburg Water

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