New dam formed by months-long leak from damaged pipe
In the midst of Nelson Mandela Bay’s ongoing water crisis, a new fresh-water “dam” has been formed as a result of an unattended leak spewing hundreds of litres of water into an illegal dumpsite along Victoria Drive.
The leak was captured on video on Saturday by Lake Farm resident Garth van Niekerk, who discovered the steady stream of clean water flowing into the swamp-like surroundings emanated from a crack in a water pipe running along Victoria Drive behind the Arlington Racecourse.
Several Walmer Township residents yesterday claimed the leak had been pumping out water for many months.
The ground surrounding the pipe and manhole has sunk to more than a metre deep.
The water subsequently dammed up a few metres from the leak, creating a swampy area of more than 10m² in size.
Pieces of illegally dumped building rubble are scattered in and around it.
“I understand that while the municipality can’t be blamed as they were probably unaware [of the leak], it is still ridiculous considering the water situation and the municipality constantly telling us to be water smart,” Van Niekerk said.
“I was out there collecting rocks for my garden when I heard the water running.
“The guy helping me said it had been leaking for about two years.”
Less than a kilometre away, Walmer residents are facing imminent water tariff increases.
Early this month, Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip said the next phase of punitive water tariffs would be implemented should the combined dam levels drop below 40%. They are now at 41.26%.
The last 10% of the dams is deemed unusable, which means the metro has just 31% potable water – about 12 months’ worth.
Van Niekerk said he immediately reported the leak. “I reported it, I put it up on social media and I sent it to all the contacts on my phone. Some of the contacts are municipal officials,” he said.
“I thought I would make as many people aware as possible so it can be fixed as quickly as possible. I have been receiving calls and messages ever since,” he said.
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said it was “not conclusive for now” as to whether Van Niekerk’s clip had resulted in the rapid action taken by the municipality which, less than 24 hours later, had staff on the scene to repair the leak.
“This leak is not recorded through the call centre. Its detail will have to be checked through the system probably on Tuesday,” he said.
“The municipality relies to a greater extent on the public reporting leaks to 0800-205050.
“Leaks on pipelines are due to wear and tear. The municipality also has a team of pipeline inspectors that usually patrols our bulk water mains to look for leaks and see that the infrastructure is functioning properly.”