NMB Water Crisis: Province is losing up to 35% of water to leaks

The Eastern Cape is losing a staggering 35% of its water to leaks and other factors, and it is feared that the money allocated by national government for infrastructure development simply will not be enough to sort out the problem it was reported this morning.

The Weekend Post reported that Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa told the National Assembly recently the loss of non-revenue water across all 45 Eastern Cape municipalities was between 3.89% and 58%. Non-revenue water is water that has been produced but is “lost” before it reaches the customer.

A report to NMBM’s budget and treasury committee says water losses can be “real” or “physical” through for example leaks, or “apparent” where there are meter inaccuracies or theft. The report reveals non-revenue water loss for 2009/10 totaled 37.8%, of which 29.3% were “real” losses representing volume of 27 560 megalitres a year.

In 2010/11, non-revenue totaled 40.2%, of which “real” losses were 26.2% or 22 961Ml a year.

The report says that the decrease in “real” losses in financial terms at R5.92 per kilolitre in 2011/12 meant that R26.6-million had been saved in a year.

But the report points out aging infrastructure poses a massive challenge, and a 2011/12 assessment showed R627.8-million would be needed over the next five years to replace critical infrastructure.

A budget of R217-million is required over the next two years just to replace pipes.