Million-litre water ‘leak’

2013-10-30 00:00

OVER a million litres of water, enough to half fill an Olympic swimming pool, was lost after a burst water pipe in Mkondeni went unrepaired more than 20 hours after it was reported.

This resulted in around R5 000 of ratepayers’ money literally going down the drain.

Fresh, clean water gushed into the air and passers-by who ventured too near felt the force of the water as they were almost knocked off their feet.

Water engineer Dave Still put the loss at about 20 litres per second. He said this would have amounted to over a million litres. According to Wikipedia it takes 2,5 million litres to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.

City resident James Mills saw the burst pipe on Monday afternoon on the verge outside Wayne’s Scrap Metals in Mkondeni.

He told The Witness that Wayne’s Scrap Metals had reported it to the municipality. He was shocked when he drove past at 8.40 am yesterday morning to see the same fountain, still “spewing hundreds of litres of fresh water into the air and over the road surface”.

Mills said it was unacceptable that the wastage of precious water, at great expense to the ratepayers, was of little or no importance to the municipal officials.

Still said that based on Umgeni Water rates, a million litres of water would have cost the city about R5 000.

He added that the Msunduzi water unit were normally “pretty good” at attending to water bursts so he could not understand what happened in this instance.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said the problem started with the reporting of the matter and how it was written down. “Unfortunately it was captured as a water leak and not as a pipe burst. When we get faults reported we prioritise them on the job list based on the level of damage and the water loss,” said Zuma

He added that there would be an investigation on what went wrong and they would be looking at the reporting system and ensuring that in future the call centre staff ask more probing questions.

Zuma said the water staff went out yesterday morning as soon as they learnt that they were dealing with a pipe burst and sorted out the problem.

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