16 July 2012

Johannesburg Water takes measures to contain Diepsloot water problems

Three buckets carrying water loaded in a wheelburrowEarlier in the year residents of Diepsloot took to the streets after their water supplier, Johannesburg Water, shut down their water supply following tests that confirmed the water was contaminated.

In reports released to SAHA through the Promotion of Access to Information Act, the water entity indicated that the cause of the contamination was E-coli, a bacterium usually found in human and animal excrement. This was due to a waste water pipe leak that spilled over to the drinking water supply.

Furthermore, the report details plans by the supplier on upgrading the water supply infrastructure in Diepsloot, which will see more people receiving water in their own yards as opposed to having to walk to communal taps allocated around the township.

In a bid to control the situation the water provider made available clean water for the community through water tanks placed at strategic points in the township. Furthermore, they printed pamphlets in isiZulu and English, and sent out press releases played over local radio stations. The water provider also engaged with Johannesburg Metro police services and other key role players to help them escort water swiftly and under guard to critical places like clinics and schools within Diepsloot.

However, the lack of documents detailing the implementation guidelines, processes and procedures to be followed by Johannesburg Water in such instances, is indicative of the slow reaction by the entity to handle the spill and avoid public panic.


For more information contact the Freedom of Information Programme at SAHA.