City of Cape Town sees spike in theft of water meters | Infrastructure news

The City of Cape Town says it has seen a spike in the number of water meters stolen in several suburbs.

Steenberg, Retreat, Grassy Park, Strand, Athlone, Woodstock, Ottery, Bellville South, Lentegeur, Manenberg and Belgravia are some of the areas where there was an increase in stolen meters between  July 2021 and April 2022.

In a statement on Sunday, the city said there has been a notable increase in stolen water meters reported across the city over the past eight months.

“It is an increase of 1,143 stolen water meters compared to the previous financial year’s figures over a shorter period. Residents are encouraged to report stolen water meters as soon as possible so it can be replaced to avoid water wastage and reduce inconvenience to the household,” said mayoral committee member for water and sanitation, Zahid Badroodien.

“We cannot condone the theft of critical infrastructure. We ask residents to please be vigilant and to report these incidents so it can be investigated to clamp down on this reckless, inconsiderate behaviour that has a knock-on effect on residents.

“Stealing a water meter from a property causes major inconvenience for the affected household as they have no water supply until their meter is replaced. When such incidents occur, the city makes every effort to replace these reported stolen meters in the shortest time frame. Also, the money spent on replacing the meters could have been used elsewhere.”

The reward

A reward of up to R5,000 is being offered to any resident who reports incidents or information related to the theft and vandalism of water and sanitation infrastructure that leads to a successful arrest or recovery of stolen equipment. 

Residents can report to one of the city’s safety and security agencies like law enforcement and the metro police by phoning 107 from a landline, or 112 from a cellphone, and asking for the city’s public emergency call center.

Both of these numbers are free-call options, the city said.

The solution

The city is no longer installing brass water meters and is only installing plastic water meters due to the scrap value of the brass water meters.

“The brass water meters are being targeted and it will take some time before all meters are replaced with plastic ones. The cost for the city to replace a stolen/damaged 15mm water meter is R3,260.60 while the cost for a stolen/damaged 20mm water meter is R3,744.60,” said Badroodien.

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