Water supply

2008-04-25 00:00

AS everyone now knows, the present electricity crisis has come about because the maintenance and upgrading of electricity supply installations has been inadequate over the past 14 years despite the fact that the demand for electricity has increased hugely over that period. Eskom management appears to have thought that, like the sun, our electricity supply was inexhaustible, requiring no forward planning or effort to sustain or expand it.

Both the government and Eskom are finally taking the problem seriously. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for our water supply. Again, when supplying water to areas previously deprived of it, authorities acted as if water were an infinite resource. No wonder problems are surfacing, such as those reported recently from Claridge and Winterskloof, where there are unexplained interruptions in the water supply.

At least the local water has not been shown to have killed anyone. But in the rural Eastern Cape nearly 80 children have died, possibly from drinking unsafe tap water, while a visiting professor at the Wits University Graduate School of Public and Development Management has warned that the future health and safety of those dependent on the Vaal River for their water is in the balance.

Clearly, many of those in charge of the water supply, and of its scientific conservation, lack knowledge and understanding, and are falling dismally short in departments.

It’s a welcome sign, therefore, that numerous ratepayers and concerned residents are actively campaigning for Msunduzi to become a metro, into which they would be incorporated, making redundant incompetent and wasteful municipalities. Such healthy public initiatives like these, energetically pursued, could be the answer to many of the problems that are now being experienced.

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