READER LETTERS | Mthatha water worries

Major water challenge affects Mthatha
Major water challenge affects Mthatha
Image: File

Thank you for your article on the water quality in Mthatha ("Specialists Brought in to Improve Mthatha Water Quality", DD Feb 4) which was thought-provoking. The Mthatha dam was built during the Transkei homeland era, but we seem to still be out of danger when it comes to water availability, especially considering the vast area of coverage, which has been growing since the dam's establishment in the late 70s.

But the following points seem to suggest that Mthatha is sitting on a ticking time bomb when it comes to governance and strategic water management as a whole:

  • The article reports that a burst pipe from Mthatha dam was never repaired; instead the water is being caught further downstream, resulting in sludge which raises concerns about quality. My take is that, based on previous DD articles and research conducted on Mthatha River, the further downstream, the more the water is likely to carry diseases and impurity as a result of the city's litter, refuse dumping and ever spilling sewer.
  • It is not the first time the DD has reported on the government soliciting the work of experts from outside. When Mthatha was suffering badly from pipe bursts a few years ago, specialists from Umgeni Water were summoned. This challenge seems to suggest lack of internal capacity and expertise to manage and distribute water.
  • In the overall picture the water authorities seem to be reactive rather than proactive, let alone dealing with symptoms rather than root causes. We as ratepayers are always kept in the dark until something catastrophic happens.

I wish the DD would monitor the water and refuse situation by dedicating a special team before it is too late. I also encourage the water authority to rethink its management of this scarce and precious resource. — Mzwandile Ferguson, via e-mail

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