Water bursts from a brass spout with violent urgency. It foams through the tap angrily and on to a sprawling field. The stream fans out, forming veins that meet swampy arteries carved by footpaths in the grass.
After some time, a mother bearing a baby on her back approaches, swinging a plastic bucket. A bit later, three children holding empty Coke bottles wobble towards the tap across a wooden plank placed over the constantly churned earth.
Users make short trips to fill their canisters at the place where the valley creases like a frown. But apart from these visitors, the tap rages on alone. Unprovoked and unappeased, it spouts forth.
This tap is the Finetown informal settlement’s sole source for drinking, cooking, cleaning and washing. There’s no water in their homes, but it runs rampant and unchecked through their community.
About 40km away, water expert Mike Muller has finally emerged from a long day of meetings with representatives from the City of