Water trucks rolled out

As part of its Covid-19 mitigation efforts, the City of Cape Town’s water and waste directorate has actioned the roll-out of water trucks as an emergency measure to enhance access to water for residents in informal settlements, said Xanthea Limberg, mayoral committee member for water and waste.

Over the past week, more than
4 million litres of water have already been delivered via water trucks to various areas across the city, with a primary focus on communities whose access to water is constrained, she said.

“The City always strives to provide the highest possible level of access to water, but this is sometimes constrained by factors beyond its control, such as settlements being established on railway lines, on sand dunes, or in a wetland. These settlements are generally relatively small pockets separate from the established settlements,” said Ms Limberg.

Thirty-one trucks have come online since the start of the lockdown period and are owned by the City or its existing contractors and are operated at a cost of approximately R200 000 a day, she said.

The different trucks can carry and distribute between 144 000 litres and 584 000 litres of water a day. They are filled at water treatment plants that supply drinking water to households and standpipes via the formal reticulation network.

Alternatively, they extract water from standpipes at designated water depots and from fire hydrants close to the community. This water is routinely tested for compliance with SANS 241 standards, drinking water quality criteria, and ad hoc testing is conducted on the contents of the trucks.

It is also important for residents to note the City’s water tankers are only used to transport drinking water, and are cleaned according to World Health Organization guidelines.

Hoses and reels used are stored in a sealed container, all tankers are watertight, the tankers are made of suitable material for the storage of drinking water, the hired tankers were all used in the food and beverage industry and certificates of compliance will be made available from the contractor.

Residents are asked to adhere to the recommended 1.5 metre physical distancing while in the queue and reminded to wash their hands regularly before and after handling the taps. Staff also reiterate the messaging of City health officials in terms of maintaining hygiene practices of hand washing after sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces in public places, she said.

“I would like to thank our dedicated teams who are doing everything possible to ensure the delivery of basic services during this time, as part of the fight against the spread of Covid-19,” she said,

Staff from their public participation unit are working closely with relevant ward councillors and all other leadership structures and schedules for truck visits are being shared with them regularly. Printed schedules will also be placed at strategic points within the respective areas, said Ms Limberg.