Cape Town - The increased instances of faulty water infrastructure and water supply disruptions recently spurred the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to host an induction workshop for councillors responsible for water and sanitation, in various councils or municipalities.
Through this training, the department hoped to better equip councillors, across the Western Cape, to deal with issues of water and sanitation – as well as other problems raised by their communities.
On Tuesday, the City's Water and Sanitation Directorate conducted an emergency shutdown on the water supply main from its Mandalay Pressure Reduction Installation, due to vandalism of critical infrastructure.
DWS services support acting director Zolile Simawo said: “The department is deeply concerned with faulty water infrastructure and disruptions in the water supply. Most concerning is vandalism and theft of water and sanitation services infrastructure, which causes water cuts and sewer spillages. This seems to be a common problem in municipalities across the Western Cape.”
Simawo said water and sanitation services were often neglected by many municipal councils throughout the province and, as a result, it got under-budgeted – which meant ageing infrastructure was not refurbished or replaced.
He said many municipalities still experienced high water losses and high non-revenue water, therefore, councillors should be able to develop and pass by-laws that prevented high water losses and high non-revenue water – this was one of the topics the workshop addressed.
Knysna Municipality infrastructure services committee chairperson Peter Bester said: “One of the biggest problems we have is with land invasions. When land is invaded, shortly thereafter, the communities come forward and demand services such as water, sanitation, and electricity, but the reality is that our resources are already so stretched that we cannot deliver on those services.
“I am hoping that, out of this training, I can develop a better understanding of where to tap in to assist these communities and ensure basic service delivery for all.”