The Citizen (KZN)

‘Save water’ – Joburg cop out

GAUTENG METROS INFORMED SYSTEMS UNDER SEVERE STRAIN Some city residents without supply for 10 days and counting.

- Marizka Coetzer

Joburg Water blames the heatwave and poor rainfall for the lack of water supply to residents, while City of Tshwane is also warning residents to restrict water use or face a system breakdown.

Rand Water has informed Gauteng metros that the current strain could lead to a “total system collapse”.

Over the weekend, Joburg Water issued a notice that the water systems were under strain due to the persistent heatwave and lack of rain after Joburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda said the water system was in a better condition than it was last week and denied that Joburg was facing a water crisis.

“We’re not even close to assuming it’s a crisis, we have access to water. We were experienci­ng a technical issue,” he said last week.

However, some residents across Johannesbu­rg have been struggling with water cuts. Some have been without water for 10 days and counting.

WaterCAN’s Dr Ferrial Adam said the water system was completely constraine­d at the moment. “It’s a combinatio­n of issues with the pump stations, the amount of water pumped in and out and the fact that we are losing a lot of water through leaks, which is at 25%.

“In a water-scarce country like SA, we all need to save water,” she said.

Adam said Rand Water and Joburg Water should be honest and say their systems were constraine­d.

“They need to take responsibi­lity for the failing system we are in right now. They must admit they need help.”

Adam said people should restrict water consumptio­n or face a possible collapse of the system. “People must also start saving water. Even if you have borehole water, you need to start saving. If we don’t we are going to end up with a very dry Johannesbu­rg.”

Water expert Prof Anja du Plessis said the continuing and escalating water supply crisis within the City of Joburg was a prime example of how a once worldclass city can experience ongoing intermitte­nt water supply and/or dry taps, with the possibilit­y of a day zero. This is due to continued mismanagem­ent, poor governance and little to no political will to address its water crises.

“The past two weeks have been dominated by the blame game between key role-players, with little to no clear communicat­ion while it became clear that the city’s water woes are far from being over or resolved,” she said.

Du Plessis said the water supply crisis can be attributed to a combinatio­n of forces, escalating at a rapid rate. “Some of these include the expansion of the city with an apparent lack of planning to ensure water security, non-maintenanc­e of collapsing water infrastruc­ture, lack of skilled and experience­d personnel and overall mismanagem­ent.”

Tshwane’s MMC utility services and regional operation and coordinati­on Themba Fosi said Rand Water had given notice of a potential water supply crisis.

“The City of Tshwane held an emergency meeting this morning with representa­tives from Rand Water, the City of Joburg and the City of Ekurhuleni to address a severe strain on the Rand Water supply system, which is on the verge of collapse,” he said.

Fosi said Rand Water’s total water storage has plummeted to below 30%, necessitat­ing immediate interventi­ons to mitigate the crisis. “What has transpired in Joburg over the past two weeks is a serious concern to Tshwane. It is evident that Rand Water systems are under severe pressure,” he said. –

Past two weeks have been dominated by the blame game

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