Investigation into water meters

The installation of Aqua-loc water meters have been put on hold, pending the outcome of an investigation.

Sub-council 2 chairman Grant Twigg and councillors have agreed to stop installations of the Aqua-loc water meters in their constituencies pending an investigation into the “problematic product”.

This after Ward 8 councillor Marian Nieuwoudt asked the City for data on complaints relating to the controversial “water management devices”, or WMDs

A report, presented by the City’s customer relations department at last week’s sub-council meeting, showed 3 571 WMD “service requests” had been logged in the sub-council’s wards over the course of a single year – April 2017 to March 2018.

Of those logged incidents, 1 810 had been complaints about the devices cutting off water; 989 had been complaints of faulty devices; 550 had been complaints about the devices leaking and 193 had been reports of damaged devices.

Wards 8 and 111 logged the most service requests — each with exactly 754 — followed by Ward 100 with 750.

Hilary Skewes, from the City’s customer relations department, said a lot of devices had been installed between June and December last year.

“The customers who had the WMD installed were not informed as to how the device functions, when the amount of water depletes, so a large number of these complaints were a number of people who had run out water through the day because they were using more than expected. So they ran out of their 350 litres per day.”

Mr Twigg said he was thankful for an “honest” presentation. There were “quick fixes” taking place on the Aqua-loc meters, and he recommended installations be stopped until the devices were shown to be reliable.

Councillor Luyanda Mbele said: “I want to report a daily problem that happens to water devices — many times the cars drive over these devices and they get damaged. We don’t have the necessary manpower to distribute pamphlets to the communities or to inform them and they would know exactly what they should do when they are sitting with this problem.”

Mr Twigg asked why Aqua-loc devices were still being used if they were linked to so many complaints.

Acting sub-council manager, Amelia van Ryn, said people were being left without water for days before their devices were fixed.

“When this takes place there is nobody to get hold of at the department or there is no feedback.”

Ms Van Ryn suggested that the department “work smarter and not harder” and run an education drive to tell residents how the devices work and who to call with a problem.

Ms Skewes said she was not from the City’s water department and could only provide the statistics.

“We acknowledge from our side — having worked with our colleagues in water — that there are contractors who deal specifically with Aqua-loc meters. A new tender was sent out and these contractors have been informed of what the past problems have been and hopefully things will improve,” she said.