Gauteng water crisis: Restrictions dropped in Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni

Gauteng water crisis: Restrictions dropped in Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni
Gauteng water crisis: Restrictions dropped in Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Bulk water supplier Rand Water lifted its water restrictions in Gauteng on Tuesday.

Since September, residents in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Tshwane have been suffering from intermittent outages after Rand Water throttled 30% of their supply. The restrictions were in response to several issues plaguing Gauteng’s water supply.

These included higher consumption of water during recent heatwaves, a delay in the summer rains, broken infrastructure caused by electrical cuts at the Rand Water pump stations, and damaged and ageing infrastructure in the metros.

In addition, load shedding in the three metros, a significant loss of water to leaks and illegal connections, population growth outstripping the introduction of new infrastructure, and delays in building new water sources from the Lesotho Highlands Project all coalesced to heighten the problems Rand Water has been contending with.

The Lesotho project supplies the Integrated Vaal River System.

The restrictions were put in place when Rand Water’s total reservoir capacity fell from 52% to 35%. Their ideal storage level is around 60%. This level helps ensure there is enough storage in the event of increased consumption.

Reservoirs must also remain at or above a specified level to ensure the system is pressurised enough to transport water into reticulation. At the end of September, Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu gave Rand Water the authority to supply more water than its licence currently permits – around 4 300 million litres daily.

Before Mchunu’s approval, Rand Water said residents in the three metros were using about 4 900 million litres a day.

In a statement on Tuesday, the utility said recent rains in and around Gauteng had helped fill the reservoirs.

It added:

It added that the stabilisation of the systems, assisted by the rain, “has been a joint and collaborative effort by Rand Water and the three metros”.

“In consultation with the metros, a philosophy has been agreed to which will ensure that best water management practices are left in place to ensure that systems are kept stable throughout the coming hot months.”

“Through these collaborative efforts, the metros have managed to reduce consumption and manage their own systems effectively and efficiently. Therefore, reduced consumption and leak repairs will be the new order.”

Rand Water ended the statement by thanking the metros and residents for their cooperation. “[We] hope that this watershed moment will lead towards the permanent wise use of potable water.”

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