Edna Molewa. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi.

Cape Town -

Free State municipalities are losing more than eight billion litres of water a month, according to figures tabled by Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Worst affected is Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality - which includes the provincial capital, Bloemfontein - where exactly half the water supplied is lost.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question, plus attached annexures, Molewa said the average total water loss in the Free State's 20 municipalities was 8 650 619 kilolitres a month.

A kilolitre is 1000 litres.

The biggest loss was in Mangaung: 3 315 059 kilolitres a month.

The reply does not specify how much of this loss is the result of leaking pipes, but a second annexure reveals that millions of rands have been set aside in the province for “water leak repairs” in the 20 municipalities.

It also shows that annual demand for water in the province (125 817 megalitres) is only slightly more than half the supply (238 102 megalitres). A megalitre is one million litres.

Molewa said her department had taken steps to help the municipalities reduce their water losses.

These include repairing leaks, installing meters, repairing leaking reservoirs and replacing ageing pipes. - Sapa