South Africa: Communities Urged to Protect Water Infrastructure

The Department of Water and Sanitation says the destruction of water infrastructure is resulting in a huge setback in service delivery.

"Vandalising of infrastructure does not only disrupt water supply to communities but it also impacts on the financial well-being of the department and other stakeholders in the water sector, particularly municipalities," the department said on Tuesday.

The department said acts of vandalism of infrastructure, including property theft, is prevalent both in rural and urban settings, as witnessed in Buffalo City, Eastern Cape.

These acts include vandalism and theft of valuable metal pipes, fittings and manhole covers, leading to an increase in maintenance costs by Water Services Authorities.

"Water theft through bypassing of meters or tampering with pipes and fittings to make illegal connections is also a serious challenge, especially for downstream water users.

"Destruction of water infrastructure generally results in reduced access to a suitable quantity and quality of water to users broadly. This is turn affects the sanitation services, with associated impacts on public health and personal dignity," the department said.

The department has called on communities to refrain from destroying water infrastructure and to protect it instead.

"This will result in improved water and sanitation services, especially in areas that are challenged with water shortages," the department said.

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