Do you have a question about Water and / or Sanitation?

Listed below are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

If your question is not answered on these pages, you may direct your query to the Water and Sanitation Department by phoning the toll-free number 080 13 13 013 or emailing

Leaks and Faults

Water Loss Insurance

Water Connections

Waste Water


Leaks and Faults

eThekwini Water and Sanitation is responsible for providing fresh, clean and safe water to homes, businesses, shops, schools and factories throughout the eThekwini municipal area.

eThekwini Water and Sanitation is working hard to bring clean, fresh water to areas where there is no running water.

Water is a valuable resource throughout South Africa. We need to save as much water as we can.

When there is a water leak, water is wasted.

If I see a water leak what should I do?

You should report any leaks to the Water Services Help Line – 080 13 13 013.

This is a toll-free number so you will not have to pay for the call.

The following information will be helpful:

  • Street name and area 
  • The house number closest to the leak
  • A description of the leak
  • Your telephone number

Accurate information will help Water Services to fix a burst water pipe within 24 hours. Small leaks should be repaired within 48 hours.

Is the Water Services department responsible for all water leaks?

No, only leaks in the street or on Council property.

eThekwini Water and Sanitation department will not charge its customers to repair pipes in the streets.

You should report anyone who tries to take money from you for repairing council water pipes.

What if the leak is on my property?

  • If the leak is on your property or boundary, it may be your problem to fix. 
  • If you are a homeowner, it is your responsibility to repair the pipe.
  • If you rent the property, it is the landlord's responsibility to fix leaks.
  • If you rent the property from the Province, tell the township manager who must get the leak repaired.

Take immediate steps to stop the loss of water by turning off the water supply tap. Only switch it on once the leak has been mended.

Who do I call to mend a leak on my property?

A plumber is the best person to call to mend domestic leaks and repair pipes and connections. You will find a list of plumbers in the Yellow Pages or click on the link for a list of registered plumbing contractors

How does the water department know how much water I use?

  • A meter on your property measures the amount of water you use.
  • If you have a leak, then the escaping water may also register on your water meter. This means you will be charged for all the leaking water.

What if I discover I have a water leak on my property after business hours?

It makes sense to have leaking pipes repaired as quickly as possible. Most plumbers work 24-hours a day, at weekends and on public holidays.

How do I know if I have a water leak on my property?

It is possible to have an underground leak on your property and not to notice it until you receive a very large water account.

To find out if you have a leak

  • Turn off all the taps in your house.
  • Find your water meter. This will be outside your house, possibly on the boundary.
  • Your meter will have a row of numbers.
  • Check the meter for movement of the numbers; if there is no visible movement then do the following:
  • Take a meter reading by writing down all the numbers on the meter dial.
  • Advise all the people on the property not to use any water for at least one hour; this can also be done overnight.
  • Take another meter reading; if the reading has increased, then there is a leak. The numbers on the meter move to measure water flow, so if they have moved, there is a leak.

What do I do now?

To stop the water supply, turn off the tap at the meter and call a plumber.

Back to Leaks and Faults

Water Loss Insurance

What is water insurance all about?

Please click on the link for information about water insurance

How can I protect myself against water leaks?

You can take out water insurance. This is offered by a private company, and can be arranged through eThekwini Water.

Where do I apply for water insurance?

You can apply for water insurance by phoning eThekwini Water on 080 13 13 013 which is a toll free number.

They will need your account number and your telephone number. eThekwini Water will then arrange the insurance for you with the insurance company, and will post a copy of the policy to you.

How do I pay for water loss insurance?

Once you have applied for the insurance, the monthly premium will be included on your water bill.

Can I cancel my water insurance?

Yes, you can cancel it at any time.

How long does the water insurance last?

It last as long as you pay the premium.

If I have a business will eThekwini Water arrange my water loss insurance for me?

No, eThekwini Water will only arrange water loss insurance for single domestic supply. For non-domestic and multi-dwelling properties, contact eThekwini Water on 080 13 13 013 which is a toll free number.

Back to Water insurance FAQs

Water Connections

Why don’t I have an individual meter for my unit?

Since 2004:

All units have water meters and are paid for at the same time as they apply for the bulk meter. 

These meters are placed in ducts/cupboards where it is accessible to the meter readers.  The piping for the water meters are to the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department specifications, alternately 

White boxes which, incorporate the water meter and a flow limiter, can be used.  These are also installed in ducts /cupboards, again to the eThekwini Water and Sanitation Department specifications.

Before 2004:

Some areas had individual and bulk meters and this was changed with only the bulk meter being read with the result that the individual meters were handed back to the Body Corporate.

There are many complexes/flats that have remained this way.  The reading is divided by the number of units, less the 6kl that are for free.

Waste water

Why must the property owner locate the rodding eye / boundary manhole?

The rodding eye / boundary manhole is part of the private drainage system of the property, and therefore does not belong to the Council. It is the owner's responsibility to ensure it is exposed and in good condition.

In order to clear a blockage that occurs in the connection, (i.e. between this manhole and the Council’s main), our staff will require access to this manhole / rodding eye.

Does your department handle storm water as well?

How do I raise or lower a manhole?The Water and Sanitation Unit is only responsible for sewerage maintenance and provision and not stormwater. The Engineering Unit handles stormwater issues and they can be contacted on one of the numbers below :

Durban Area 031 - 4652633
Western Area 031 - 7182521/3

How do I raise or lower a manhole?

An owner is responsible for the maintenance of his own private manholes, but if there is a council manhole in a servitude in your property, contact must be made to the Water and Sanitation Unit to raise or lower it. Levels and accessibility will be checked to validate that it is possible. Should the raising / lowering be for the sole benefit of the property owner, they will be charged the cost of such work.

It is illegal for any private individual to raise, lower, tamper with or bury any Council manhole, inside or outside the property. Such actions could lead to prosecution and could cause blocking / failure of this systems, and create delays in rectifying if a problem occurs in the future.

How is the Water and Sanitation Unit funded?

The sewage disposal (or sanitation) service is funded by a sewage rate in the case of most properties and a usage charge based on the volume and strength of effluent treated, in the case of certain industrial and commercial properties. Sanitation related services are paid for through charges raised for each specific service.

The cost of providing the water service is recovered through water tariffs and charges for water related services.

Back to Waste water


How can I find out about public tenders that are available?

Small tenders (less than R 120 000 in value) are advertised weekly on notice boards at certain of the regional offices. These notices will give details of the nature of the work, where documents can be collected and when and where they need to be submitted.

Large tenders (greater than R 120 000 in value) are advertised on Thursday afternoon in the Daily News, Ilanga, UmAfrika and Post. They are also advertised on this web site.

Documents can then be collected from the cashier at the head office at 3 Prior Road, Durban. Tenderers are normally to be returned to Rennies House, 41 Victoria Embankment, but the closing date, time and location are always reflected on the advertisement and the tenderer documents themselves.

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