Govt moves on Diepsloot water issue

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pretoria - Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, on Thursday met with City of Johannesburg and Johannesburg Water officials to discuss the Diepsloot drinking water situation.

The meeting was aimed at discussing and evaluating the cause, current status, rectification process and prevention plans of the situation, which has left many of the impoverished community's residents frustrated.

Diepsloot's drinking water system was contaminated by sewage last Thursday when a contractor upgrading infrastructure accidentally damaged water pipes. Residents have been warned not to drink the water.

The department said it viewed the situation, which has the potential to threaten the livelihood and health of the Diepsloot community, as dire and high priority.

"It can be confirmed that the situation in Diepsloot is being addressed well within the water safety planning process and incident management protocol, which is a key Blue Drop requirement," said Mabudafhasi in a statement.

She said that as the regulatory authority of the sector, the department was satisfied that requirements were being met and that adequate processes were in place to ensure that safe water supply was restored as soon as possible.

She acknowledged that the rectification process was taking relatively long, but noted that the complexity to rectify the situation was well understood due to the magnitude of the network, the flushing process and related engineering and scientific processes.

"The interventions implemented so far that stem from these processes have shown significant improvement in terms of quality but the caution remains that it is not complying with national standards as yet," she said.

Mabudafhasi added that the water sample drawn through the flushing process was taken to the lab and this process takes 18 - 22 hours to mature.

Mabudafhasi encouraged the community to adhere to the advisories from the city not to use the water for drinking and cooking as yet but only for sanitation purposes.

Only the residents living in Extension 2 can use the tap water as the pipeline in that area was not affected.

Water is being supplied to the community via 65 stationary tanks and 13 mobile trucks which are placed at strategic points across the affected area.

The department said it was satisfied with the fact that sanitation services have been restored as from late Wednesday since full pressure water supply is now available and will continue to monitor the situation. The department was confident that the network will be stabilised as soon as possible.