‘Unfixable’ water leaks in Grassy Park

A water leak at the Grassy Park civic centre.

While the City of Cape Town urges people to save as much water as possible, a Grassy Park resident is questioning the City’s water saving measures after noticing a continued leak at the Grassy Park civic centre.

Andre Burger, who has been living in Grassy Park for over 46 years, claims the leak has gone unfixed for a year, but the City of Cape Town says it was not reported.

“I find it ironic that the municipality imposes water restrictions on the public while there are long-term water leaks at municipal facilities and properties,” said Mr Burger.

He also questioned leakages in Eighth Avenue where he lives.

“Another thing that I have noticed is the perpetual fixing of leaks on the same spot. It is as if they deliberately do a bad job or the material that they are using is of inferior quality,” said Mr Burger.

Another resident, Faiza Jamar said it is also not the first time she noticed the leak at the civic centre.

“That patch at the back parking of the civic centre is always wet so the leak has been ongoing for a while and nobody bothered to fix it. What’s the use the City tells us to save water and implement water restrictions but they themselves aren’t adhering to them,” she said.

After the Southern Mail enquired about the leak, City officials were sent out to fix it, however, Priya Reddy, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, said the leak had not been previously reported.

“After an onsite investigation into this complaint, the City is unable to find a record of an official complaint or service request through our Customer Call Centre pertaining to this leak. Hence, it cannot be substantiated that this is a perpetual leak that has not been fixed on repeated occasions,” she said.

According to officials, an isolating valve was leaking.

“Further investigation is pending and the City’s Facilities Management Department has been notified to enable corrective action,” said Ms Reddy who thanked Mr Burger for bringing the issue to their attention.

“We urge residents to use the City’s official notification system,” she said.

Currently Cape Town has level three water restrictions in place and the City is “following due process” to see how the current restrictions can be strengthened.

The City has also stepped up enforcement efforts to make sure residents are abiding by the restrictions but Ms Reddy admits that it is a difficult task to police every occurrence of water use infringements as the water inspectorate consists of only 51 officials.

“Water use enforcement is one part of the substantial daily operations of the City and a careful balancing act of how we use our human and other resources is vital. Given that the City supplies water to close to one million customers and that most wastage occurs ‘behind closed doors’, it is crucial that residents disseminate and drive the message to save water among their social circles and to report transgressions where necessary,” she said.

Since the implementation of water restrictions, 383 notices of contraventions and 225 notices to appear in court have been issued.

In terms of policing, contraventions can result in a spot fine of up to R3 000, escalating up to R10 000 on conviction, or possible jail time for serious and repeat offenders. Spot fines can only be issued if the resident is caught in the act. In other cases a warning notice will be issued.

According to statistics, water consumption has climbed drastically over the past few weeks as residents used an average of 859 million litres of water a day from Monday January 2 to Sunday January 8 – 59 million litres more than the City’s daily target.

Ms Reddy said dam levels are at a low 44.3 percent.

“Unless a drastic improvement is observed, more serious restrictions, including a blanket ban on watering gardens or filling pools, will need to be applied. Residents’ usage patterns over the coming weeks will inform if and when this is necessary,” said Ms Reddy.

You can report water use infringements by calling the City’s Customer Call Centre on 0860 103 089 or by sending an SMS to 31373. You can also email water.restrictions@capetown.gov.za

“Insist on a reference number and use that number to follow up on the complaint,” said Ms Reddy.