What a waste of water

The water meter on Rezah Khan's property.

Rezah Khan, Rugby

A week ago, I noticed that water was gushing out of the water meter on the pavement just outside my property.

I contacted the City of Cape Town’s fault-reporting centre immediately and logged a fault as an emergency water leak at the water meter.

As the water ran out of the water meter, down the pavement and into the road, I remember thinking how our city is undergoing the worst drought in 100 years and that I did not know how to stop the leak. To my surprise, no one was sent out that night.

The next morning, I left for work and followed up with the City’s call centre, which advised that they have assigned my service request to a team and that it will be attended to. I reiterated the urgency with the call centre agent.

On the May 17, at around 7pm, I received a call from a company called Quetzal Trading, who asked me to contact their technician as he was having difficulty finding my property.I contacted him and told him to enter my address into his GPS. After about an hour, he arrived. He assessed the situation and then advised that he would not be able to fix the leak unless he fits a WMD (water management device) water meter. I made it quite clear that I did not want the device, as we have been practising various water-saving methods and did not need a device to manage our water usage.

He carried on trying to convince me about the “advantages” of the WMD. I then asked him a few questions: Would the WMD device fix the leak? – he said no, as the leak was beneath the water meter capsule.

I asked if I should take the WMD device, how much water would we be granted a day – he said he could only set it to the minimum (350 litres).

I then told him that this would not suffice, as we are eight people on the property and we had applied for and been granted water for eight people. He could not accommodate this.

I also asked if I were to agree to fit the WMD meter, would I be charged for it – he stated that he could not answer this question.

I then asked him to please fix the leak and leave the meter as was. He bluntly stated that he could not do that, packed up and left.

The water leaked for the next three days. I remember seeing some homeless people harvesting some water as I came home from work on Friday.

I contacted the City of Cape Town on numerous occasions pleading with them to send out another team to fix the leak. Having no joy with the offices at the City of Cape Town, I made contact with a family friend who works there. The leak continued day and night until Sunday afternoon at around 1pm – this is when the second team finally came out to fix the leak.

These technicians confirmed that there was actually nothing wrong with the meter itself (as I stated) and that the leak was actually a fitting from the feeder pipe into the meter.

The technicians stated that it was in actual fact the incorrect fitting used when the meter was put in just over a year ago.

I asked them to leave the meter in and just fix the leak and they did. If the first technician could have just listened and complied, four days of extra wasted water would have been saved.

To the City of Cape Town: I will not be held liable for negligence by one of your subcontractors . I will also not be held accountable for the complete and utter lack of empathy by the technician, who contributed to a further four days of water wastage.

I noticed the leak a week ago and I am not sure how long it has in fact been leaking.

I want acknowledgment from the City that it was not my fault and reassurance that my account will be amended (reversed) with charges caused by the leak.

This letter was sent to the City for a response but they had not replied by the time this issue went to print. Tabletalk will use the City’s response in next week’s edition.