Since its founding in 2009, community-based organisation Water, Amenities, Sanitation Services, Upgrading Programme (WASSUP) Diepsloot, which receives support from the City of Johannesburg through the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), has been making great strides in improving water and sanitation services in Extension 1 Diepsloot, a densely populated area that is home to more 25 000 informal settlements.
    WASSUP Diepsloot focuses on repairing and maintaining toilets, taps and drains. It also raises awareness among communities on water saving.
    The programme not only brings working toilets to residents, but it also trains residents as community plumbers. As a result, it has demonstrated enormous water savings and it’s a proven workable and scalable programme that provides dignity to people.
    WASSUP Diepsloot’s ongoing maintenance programme has saved 4 000 litres of water per toilet per day. This equates to 1 billion litres a year if all 642 toilets in Extension 1 are repaired and maintained regularly. This is a massive saving for a water-scarce country like South Africa. This programme has also demonstrated improved public spaces through fewer water pipe bursts and sewerage blockages.
    In supporting WASSUP Diepsloot, the JDA fulfils its corporate social responsibility programme, which focuses on uplifting communities in areas where its development projects are located.
    “The JDA operates in a built and infrastructure space and our partnership with WASSUP Diesploot is a perfect match. The cherry on top is that the JDA is empowering communities and the country’s scarce resource, water, is saved,” said Susan Monyai, the JDA’s Acting Marketing and Communication Executive.
    The JDA has been implementing a number of catalytic projects in Diepsloot. These include the construction of the landmark Ingonyama Bridge, which completed the connection of one of the township’s busiest thoroughfares with William Nicol Drive.