Water leaks are a potential loss of drinking water that this country cannot afford.
Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, was approached for comment on the City’s procedures when leaks are reported.
“When a report of a fault is received, a first-level responder will go out to inspect the fault as soon as possible,” he said. “First-level responders are able to perform minor repairs. If the repairs required are beyond the capacity of the first responder to fix, they will call in a team with the appropriate expertise and equipment.
“If the leak is minor, water supply to the area will be maintained until another team is available to fix the leak. If the burst is major, the first responder will turn off supply at the main ensuring major wastage does not occur. A major burst can, in a few seconds, let more water run to waste than a minor leak would in a few weeks.
“In some areas, responses to shutting down burst water mains in order to minimise water loss and in preparation for the repair are carried out in less than an hour.
“The City is looking into improving this response on a city-wide basis.
“This is, however, dependent on improving resources for this function. The City services a pipe network of close to 11 000km (the equivalent distance from here to Australia), to which 650 000 households are connected, so a certain degree of resource optimisation is required,” he said.
“This, together with preventative measures such as pressure management and pipe replacement programmes, has played a major role in the City of Cape Town being able to boast the lowest water losses, by some distance, of all large metros in South Africa.
“It is also worth noting that call volumes for Water and Sanitation have increased drastically since the possibility of water restrictions was announced.
“Residents began reporting a number of incidences that they had neglected previously. The City is working hard to eliminate the backlog this created but this will not happen overnight,” he said.
Residents can contact the 24-hour Technical Operation Centre (TOC) to report any water leaks, burst pipes, blocked and overflowing sewers by calling 0860 103 089 (choose option 2: water-related faults).
Alternatively residents can send an SMS to 31373 (max of 160 characters) or an email to waterTOC@capetown.gov.za