A number of municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal are struggling to deliver clean, potable water to residents, and have been urged to complete projects as soon as possible.
This was emphasised by Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) minister Senzo Mchunu during a ministerial session in the province.
Mchunu and deputy minister Dikeledi Magadzi engaged with representatives from uMzinyathi, uThukela, and Amajuba district municipalities in an effort to find solutions to crippling water and sanitation challenges.
Last month, water levels in the province began to decline. This, coupled with damaged sewage infrastructure after distructive floods in April, has resulted in inconsistent potable water supply in many KZN municipalities, and has exacerbated existing issues.
Sewage leaks have also forced a number of KZN beaches to close, with record-high E.coli levels cause for concern, especially ahead of the festive season.
Challenges facing municipalities when it comes to delivering water, according to the DWS, include water infrastructure vandalism, illegal water connections, dysfunctional water schemes, insufficient operations and maintenance budgets, and inadequate or unreliable water sources.
In a press briefing last month, it was declared that at least R460 million was required to repair pump stations and sewage infrastructure damaged in floods in Durban alone, Berea Mail reported.
During discussions, temporary measures provided by municipalities, such as delivering water tanks and Ventilated Improved Pit toilets was criticised.
“I would like to state this unequivocally, let us complete all projects that are meant to provide water supply and sanitation services to the people, even those that have been white elephants for as long as 10 years in some instances”, Mchunu said.
He warned against investing in short-term and temporary solutions at the expense of solidifying providing piped water to residents.
“Non-completion of water infrastructure such as water treatment works, and others leads to vandalism and theft because in most cases they are left unattended”, DWS water services management deputy director-general Risimati Mathye warned.
Compiled by Nica Richards.