Water leaks remain a big challenge in Nelson Mandela Bay  

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The war against water leaks in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro continues to be under the spotlight. The drought-stricken metro has fixed over 5 000 leaks since a concerted effort was launched a few months ago. This is after the city was losing 30 percent of its treated water, mainly through leaks. Despite this, residents say the challenge of massive amounts of water lost through water leaks persists and residents are now feeling the pinch.

As the war against water leaks continues in Nelson Mandela Bay, residents are still complaining about major leaks across the metro. Residents in the northern areas say they have been living with a massive water leak for nearly a year now and attempts to report remain fruitless.

These residents say despite having this leak as their source of drinking water, they are now worried about the dangers it poses as it is flowing towards their shacks and children play in it.

“I have reported this to the council a number of times, they did send a contractor once but it never fixed the issue and they never came back. This is very risky, water flows to shacks and children are playing here. I often have to chase them away because I worry for their safety,” says a resident.

“This is where I get my water from, I drink and cook with this water. But it is not safe. I went to the clinic because I developed skin rash due to this water but guess what, it doesn’t help because I come back home and drink this same water,” another resident explains.

1.5 million litres lost to leak every month

The Democratic Alliance (DA) conducted an oversight inspection at water leaks in the northern areas on Tuesday. This leak is said to have been running since November last year and it is estimated that 1.5 million litres of water is lost due to it per month. DA mayoral candidate Retief Odendaal says they are not happy about the turnaround strategy to fix the leaks.

“This is a massive water leak and it is sad that so much water is lost like this. This in spite of the national intervention in the NMB water crisis. The metro is failing to fix water leaks on time and look at this, now it is also endangering the lives of people who live here, these people are drinking filthy water and children can drown.”

However, Nelson Mandela Bay Director for Water Distribution, Joseph Tsatsire says the turnaround time has improved.

“We actually brought on board a number of contractors to assist our workers to deal with leaks. Our turnaround time before that was sitting on plus or minus 15 days. But with the intervention of contractors we have reduced that to seven days and the aspiration is to reduce that to plus or minus three days. If a leak is reported, we’d like to attend it in three days but bigger leaks and bursts we still continue to do that in less than 24 hours.”

The metro is set to receive over 200 mega litres of additional water per day once the Nooitgedacht Water Treatment Works is completed at the end of the month.

VIDEO| Nelson Mandela Metro given a time frame to fix leaks: