Bay to curb water losses with a little help from Japan

INTERVENTION NEEDED: The combined level of dams supplying water to Nelson Mandela Bay has dropped below 28%
INTERVENTION NEEDED: The combined level of dams supplying water to Nelson Mandela Bay has dropped below 28%
Image: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

Nelson Mandela Bay’s water department has enlisted the help of the Japanese and a team of engineers to help with the city’s 11,000 water leaks.

At a budget and treasury committee meeting yesterday, infrastructure and engineering executive director Walter Shaidi said the metro had made contact with the national department of water affairs, which then put the city in contact with the ambassador of Japan.

“Japan’s water losses are less than 5% so they clearly have a handle on how to deal with the problem.”

Shaidi said the Japanese had a water leaks project running in Ethekwini municipality and that a team from the metro would go and look at how the project was getting on, and if it was successful, implement some of those strategies in the Bay.

Because of the drought, the metro is running out of water, with the city’s combined dam levels sitting at 27.68%.

The municipality’s water losses figure was 43.9% in the 2018/2019 financial year.

The report attributed the city’s water losses to leaks, theft and metering inaccuracies.

While addressing councillors, Shaidi, said the city’s political leadership and acting municipal manager Noxolo Nqwazi had a fruitful meeting with the Bay’s business chamber and a group of highly trained engineers.

“They indicated  they want to work with us in terms of addressing the water leaks and said they did not want to be paid.

“We’re meeting with them in the next two weeks, and they will come and assess our water systems and see where we have bottlenecks,” Shaidi said.

He told councillors the current staff employed by his department would not be able to deal with the city’s leaks without assistance.

Councillors welcomed Shaidi’s news, but ANC councillor Ncediso Captain cautioned against accepting assistance from engineers without a service level agreement in place.

“Engineers are very clever people, and I’m worried about them coming and looking at our systems without an SLA in place.

“There must be documentation stating the partnership and that they won’t be paid,” Captain said.

EFF councillor Lukhanyo Mrara asked Shaidi if the city’s workers did not have the capacity to deal with the city’s issues.

Shaidi said the metro would advertise for a three-year tender to address the city’s leaks.

“We’ve got more than 11,000 leaks.

“I’d be lying to say that we’ll be able to tackle the problem with the current number of people.

“We’re not going to overcome our problems without help,” Shaidi said.

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