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The proper implementation of both the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) and Water Services Development Plans (WSDPs) should ensure sustainable provision of services to citizens – passing down the legacy to our future generations.

Case Studies: Ga – Rankuwa and Mabopane townships

Ga-Rankuwa, a township located in the north western part of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality had networks of water designed based on the cheapest capital costs.

This resulted in pipes made of asbestos and cement used for water distribution in areas of heaving clay. The aforementioned pipes have many joints, and they are short and stiff.

During rainy season, the clay will get wet and swells; resulting in pipes bursting at the joints.

Negative effects of burst pipes

Maintenance costs: Sending workforce to dig up the pipes and repair leaks.

Water losses: Leaks are not detected immediately and they can run for long time without being noticed

Disruptions: Water supply is interrupted during repair of leakages

Although all water networks have challenges, fifty leaks were identified in Ga – Rankuwa within one week.

Consequently, maintenance of water networks becomes more expensive. Nowadays, it is recommended that organizations use plastic pipes to build new water networks as they are cost effective. The cost of building new water networks can be reduced significantly.

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One more problem has been identified in Mabopane, another township based in the Tshwane Metro.

Mid-block water pipes were installed in the backyard of residential houses. through the implementation of the so-called cost saving measures.  This setup creates problems when there are maintenance duties that should be carried out on the pipes.

In addition, it makes life difficult for residents; their gardens get damaged during installations and maintenance duties.

It is therefore important to be careful when planning integration of services. Proper assessment of both the capital and operating costs of the infrastructure using life cycle costing and selecting the most appropriate long term solutions is crucial. In the future, service delivery will not only depend on infrastructure; it will also rely on the sustainable provision of services.

The long-term solution to this problem, among others, is to build new water networks in the streets. Unnecessary expenditures could be avoided if life cycle costing can be done properly.

As a result, funds that will be saved through that process could be used to speed up delivery of services to other areas.

Better life for all should not be restricted to merely provision of housing; however, it should be done through the integration of sustainable basic services, which include delivery of water, sanitation and waste removal.

It is on this basis that we advocate long term solutions in the provision of basic services to the public at large and our future generations.