Lack of monitoring of tanker water quality a huge concern

Residents get water from a tanker in Timothy Valley. The tanker was later forced to leave the area due to gang violence
FILLING UP: Residents get water from a tanker in Timothy Valley. The tanker was later forced to leave the area due to gang violence

As if it is not bad enough that some Nelson Mandela Bay residents have to rely frequently on water tankers to supply their communities with this essential resource due to burst pipes and other issues, we now also learn that the water quality is largely untested and unmonitored.

At present, water is being trucked to nine communities affected by outages due to repairs on a damaged canal in the Sundays River Valley.

The repairs, which started on Monday, are expected to be completed only on Thursday next week and affect several areas, including Motherwell, Wells Estate, Bluewater Bay, parts of Chatty, Kariega, Despatch, Bloemendal and Bethelsdorp.

The absence of any monitoring of the quality of the water provided by the contractors supplying the affected communities was raised at a public health committee meeting on Tuesday.

The municipality blamed the failure to do so on a lack of resources. 

ANC councillor Lorna Makwetu said she was concerned about some areas in Kariega that were still reliant on water tankers months down the line. 

“We are not sure about the cleanliness inside those water tankers and this is a big worry when no monitoring takes place,” she said.

“Those communities can’t afford to buy bottled water.”

She said decisions on crucial matters were made during meetings but often went unimplemented.

DA councillor Mthokozisi Nkosi said public health committee meetings had become talk shops.

“We have spoken on the issue of water quality in the tanks. There was a resolution that a joint meeting must be called between us and other departments.

“That has not been done because no-one followed up.”

Nkosi said officials had made commitments at the meetings but nothing ever came of them.

This was echoed by Makwetu, who said decisions made on crucial matters were rarely implemented after the meetings.

Councillors said the quality concerns extended to the bottled water being sold at an ever-increasing number of water shops in the city.

The DA’s Annette Lovemore said the municipality had no idea how, or whether, the water being sold was treated and whether it was safe to drink.

The lack of testing and monitoring of the water quality, whether it is bottled or tanker water, is a huge concern and must be addressed urgently.

It is a cop-out to blame the failure to do so on a lack of resources when providing services is the very reason municipalities were formed.

Providing clean drinking water is a constitutional imperative that the city must guarantee.



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