Diepsloot heads for drinking water crisis

'Water smells of sewage'

THE scarcity of fresh drinking water in Diepsloot, northern Johannesburg, may reach desperate levels if running water is not restored soon.

Residents in the area say they have been without water since last Wednesday but others claim the water coming from their taps was not drinkable before that.

"The water did not look good and it smelt of sewage," said resident Portia Ndala.

The City of Johannesburg warned residents on Friday not to drink their tap water as it was contaminated.

At Ma-Afrika Tikkun centre in extension 10 yesterday, women - young and old - pushed and shoved each other to fill their buckets from the borehole tap on the property.

The non-governmental organisation is a primary healthcare giver and provides food to mainly patients on chronic medication.

Manager Sipho Mamize yesterday said he had been allowing residents to pump the borehole water for more than a week.

"We will supply the people with water but the problem is that that then attracts more and more people. I am worried that this water supply may be unsustainable," he said, urging residents to boil the borehole water before drinking it.

Just before midday yesterday some residents queueing for water at the centre became inpatient and a scuffle broke out amid a war of words in multiple languages.

Water tanks were only brought into the area yesterday morning.

Thousands of flyers were circulated and metro police vehicles have been going around the township warning residents about the water and urging them to be patient in queues.

City spokeswoman Millicent Kabwe said the results of new tests done on water were not yet available.

"Samples were taken this morning [yesterday] at 2am. The results will only be available very late tonight [last night].

"The only area which is safe at this point is Diepsloot West," Kabwe said.

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