Cape Town investing in tech, new vehicles and more teams to bring down sewer spills 

13 Sep 2023 in Where We Govern

A new mobile application is enabling quicker sewer spill responsiveness in Cape Town, with the City closing in on 100% rollout to 17 water and sanitation depots across the metro. The City has also invested in 23 new sewer response jet-vac trucks, and more response teams. Cape TownMayor Geordin Hill-Lewis joined the City’s first responders for a ride-along from the Raapenberg Road depot, which services Camps Bay to Mitchells Plain, on Tuesday 12 September. Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, joined the mayor.

The City has invested in new technology, new vehicles and new teams to bring down sewer spills in Cape Town, including:

·       23 new jet-vac trucks worth R53m for proactive sewer cleaning and incident response

·       Staff for 8 new sewer response teams to enable faster response across the city,

·       And a new digital coordination system – the Reactive Incident Management Application – to efficiently dispatch teams to sewer spills or water-related incidents.

With this new technology, residents are now able to log online service requests, which flow through a Water and Sanitation nerve centre, directly to depots and teams with hand-held devices loaded with the RIMA application.

First responders can now capture evidence of the sewer repairs in real-time via RIMA. Residents can also now subscribe to status updates via the City’s online service request portal, which will indicate when a service request is assigned, in progress, and completed.

The system also records the actual costs of labour, travel and vehicles for each incident, helping the City to manage resources efficiently via this robust mobile solution for the work force. 

‘By investing in digital coordination tech for sewer and water incident responses, we are bringing an end to manual, paper-based running of our Water and Sanitation depots. In the past, it has been difficult to accurately trace service requests, or to confirm that a sewer spill incident has been dealt with. 

‘This will change for good as we are now close to 100% rollout of the RIMA mobile application to 17 water and sanitation depots across the metro, with the final six depots in planning stage. This holds many benefits for residents, including faster response times, and accurate status updates on resolving sewer spills or water supply disruptions.

‘We are further investing in our first responder resources, with eight new teams deployed since November 2022 to combat sewer pump station spills for a total investment of around R20m over three years,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Water and Sanitation, said that by keeping digital records, the City can also track progress on improved incident responses over time.

‘We encourage residents to please use the City’s online service request system to log incidents, as this ensures the accurate tracking of incidents from start to finish.

‘Our strategy to bring down sewer spills over time includes major bulk sewer upgrades, quadrupling pipe replacement to 100km annually, proactive cleaning of 200km of sewer line annually, growing our first responder resources, and digital coordination systems, including early warning telemetry at all sewer pump stations,’ said Councillor Badroodien.

Besides improved incident response, Cape Town is also making major investments to bring down sewer spills over time, including:

·       R1,4bn in bulk sewer upgrades MTREF (R523m in 23/24) to Milnerton, Cape Flats, Gordon’s Bay and Phillipi lines

·       A 330% increase in capital budgets for sewer pump station upgrades, from R70 million in 2022/23, ramping up to R300 million in2024/25

·       R1,3bn over MTREF for sewer spill responsiveness incl. the proactive jetting of 200km annually, over-pumping, sewer connection repairs, and manhole replacement

To report a sewer or water incident, visit and select ‘Report a fault’ in the Menu bar or scroll down. Click on the ‘City Connect’ orange box where you can select the ‘Service Requests/Report a Fault (C3)’ option. 

Or simply download the City of Cape Town app ad-free and at no cost from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by searching for “City of Cape Town”. The City will be adding the App to the Huawei gallery in the coming months.