Joburg Water hard at work to restore water throughout the city

The City of Johannesburg through Johannesburg Water is hard at work addressing the recent water shortages and system challenges experienced across the city. 

Since 3 March, large areas of the city were left with little to no water supply following a power outage that affected the Eikenhof Water Pumping Station. 

The Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Jack Sekwaila, said in situations where there are water outages, the City can take measures to ensure that residents have access to water using alternative sources such as water tankers and access to information. “Most of the time, water outages are caused by natural disasters. Our recent water outage was caused by lightning striking the Eikenhof power station, which resulted in a power outage. Without power, Rand Water is unable to supply water to the Johannesburg water reservoir because they rely on the Eickhoff substation,” said MMC Sekwaila.

Joburg Water has since made major strides in mitigating the water shortages and have water supplied at average capacity. Water tankers were coordinated to supply water while the technical teams were deployed to fix the challenges. The technicians are currently still monitoring the capacity and water level demands of the city.

Johannesburg Water Managing Director Ntshavheni Mukwevho said at a recent Joburg Water media briefing that it takes time for the reservoirs and towers to recover once they run dry.“It takes time for the system to build up. In that process, a lot of technical work has been done, which involves flushing the air out of the system because once the system is empty, the air gets into the system,” he explained.

Mukwevho also noted that Joburg Water has a serious challenge regarding ageing infrastructure, leaks, and high demand caused by the hot weather.“We have a challenge of backlog; we should have been investing at a higher pace than what we have invested. Currently, we have a backlog of about R27 billion. So, these are the infrastructures that we should have brought or replaced. There is a serious need for substantial investment to resolve these challenges,” he said.

Additionally, Joburg Water released a statement earlier this week highlighting that the persistent heatwave experienced in the past few weeks as well as the lack of rain has also resulted in high demand, which has led to the bulk supplier’s reservoir levels declining at an undesirable rate, impacting Johannesburg Water and other metros. ​This indicates that the current demand is higher than the available supply..Although Rand Water is pumping and supplying water, the increased demand on the system has resulted in reservoirs being unable to maintain capacity.

According to Nombuso Shabalala, the spokesperson for Johannesburg Water, the entity is trying to find solutions and strategies to addressing the high-water demand issues.Johannesburg Water’s technical teams have been working behind-the-scenes implementing daily internal interventions to mitigate the situation and improve water supply to its customers.“We are also calling all residents of the city and businesses to work with us in reducing the water wastage by at least 10 percent. This includes adhering to the City’s level-1 waterrestrictions, which require residents to use water sparingly especially with South Africa being a water-scarce country,” Shabalala said.

MMC Sekwaila said the City will increase communication to educate residents and stakeholders on the importance of water conservation.

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