In this second contribution to CoProp.io the emergency water supply gets center stage. Are water tanks and boreholes key essentials for all Sectional Titles Schemes located in poorly managed municipalities?
I definitely think so and please let me explain why with an example that perfectly describes the magnitude of the situation. And please do share your opinions below.
Mangaung Metro is frankly so ill run that it is close to collapse. They have major credit control problems and despite waking up to the fact that they need to sort our their financials, they are so hopelessly mired in the black stuff that they are finding it very difficult to dig themselves out. Their problems stem from the deployment of political appointees to the top positions and even more so to the interference in normal management by the political heads. This is probably their biggest problem but far more lies behind their current woes including;
- Ageing control systems that have not been properly managed or kept up to date.
- Political interference in collections. Whole areas of Thaba Nchu, Botshabelo, and the township areas have not paid for water or electricity for years and few if any of these properties in these areas pay even basic rates and taxes. There is no political will to take strong steps to collect municipal charges in these areas.
- Old infrastructure causing massive losses. Water leaks are a typical example of this. In the city itself water leaks are often unattended for weeks and in the peri urban areas I have noticed streams of water running alongside informal housing areas. Meters that do not record correctly are common, and may meters are unread or misread for months at a time.
- Even in town, where meter reading should be far easier, there is a lack of credit control. Platinum Global pride itself on keeping their payments for services for its buildings up to date. Even here it is not unusual for meters to be misread or unread for months at a time – despite requests for correction of accounts. Incredibly, huge outstanding accounts mysteriously get added to current accounts. Many of these “outstanding” accounts are those that are apparently outstanding for upwards of 10 years ago. Not infrequently developer accounts are added to body corporate accounts – while no steps are being taken against the developer. Metro unilaterally disconnect water and electricity for these outstanding accounts and when taken to court for illegal disconnection are unable to show how these accounts arose as being owed by the body corporate. Loss of these defended court cases is costing them dearly. Their records are dicey at best and frequently they are unable to show how accounts claimed from years ago have arisen. In a recent court case a supposed long outstanding rates account, when spreadsheeted against actual recorded payments resulted in a current difference of less than R2,000. The claimed amount was an original outstanding from more than 10 years ago of R158,000 plus interest accumulating to R1.5 million plus. Metro are unable to explain how the outstanding amount arose in the first place!
Evade Metro Mismanagement
With all the Metros problems and the inability to read and charge for services correctly, property owners need to understand that there are serious problems with Metro. They simply have no money because of their credit control systems and it is unlikely that they are going to be able to sort themselves out in a reasonable period of time. They currently owe massively to Bloem Water, who as a result cannot purify water from the reservoirs because they don’t have the money to buy chemicals because of this non-payment. Together with the “new” Metro credit control and low pressure supplies from Bloem Water, the supply of water to many areas has been disrupted quite frequently.
Water tanks as emergency supply
The western portion of the city Universitas and Langenhoven Park and surrounds are particularly at risk as they rely on water top towers which are not fed when the water pressure is low. This whole area has been without water for three or four days at a time. To take protective measures we are busy with surveying each building with the idea of buying JoJo tanks as emergency water supplies. Though the cost is high, there is little alternative to this if the building is not to sit without water. Water tankers cannot be relied on from Metro and they have very limited supply of these vehicles and the daily cost of hiring private tankers is very expensive. Installing JoJo tanks around the building is more cost effective, especially if this can be connected to a bore hole installation with solar electricity supply – certainly more reliable.
Steps to take
I would suggest that the supply of these boreholes and tanks is essential rather than a luxury and that Trustees should notify all owners of their intention of installing them.
- Inform owners of intention to improve emergency water supply
- Get approval for investigation (through special GM if required)
- Get quotations of installation JoJo tanks
- Get quotation for solar powered borehole installation
- Get approved for implementation (through special GM if required)
- Install the water emergency installation