Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (DA) 17 Oct 2022 – Nico de Jager

There are a number of factors that need to be considered where water is concerned starting with municipal responsibility.
In Joburg 43% of water is lost because of technical (burst pipes and leaks) and non technical (unmetered or by-passed meters). These need to be addressed urgently and cannot be ignored. In the absence of additional supply or resources residents must also abide by the stage 2 restrictions for their own sake or we will be further impacted once the rains come.

It is also true that on average Gauteng residents use 300+ litres of water per day against a world norm of 173 litres. That is calculated by number of people รท demand.
The daily allocation for Joburg is about 1.6 mega litres of water an amount which we are exceeding by more than 200 mega litres per day and it increases during spring when it is hot and dry.

So, irrespective how full the dams are the pumping capacity remains constant and there has been no significant work done to increase the 1.6 mega litres of water.
Water is dependent on electricity to be pumped and herein lies the current water shortages.

Randwater infrastructure is a National key point (a strategic instalation) and therefore exempt from loadshedding while City Power is not exempt and is expected to find its own solutions for electricity shortages during loadshedding. However, it appears as if Randwater failed dismally in the maintenance of the electric infrastructure over the years and that lack of maintenance is now impacting on Randwaters ability to pump water. Even though they are exempt even Randwater suffers at times when Eskom suddenly loses supply impacting on purification plants and this machinery was never disigned to be switched on and off.

Over the last couple of weeks Randwater unilaterally decided to reduce its supply to the Eikenhof area of supply by 100 mega litres a day. Now remember that Eikenhof supplies Hursthill, Meredale, Lenasia all the way to Mogale through Roodepoort and when you cut supply by 100 000 000 litres (100 mega litres) per day the already constrained supply will eventually run dry especially when there is no spare capacity.

Over the weekend Randwater did not reduce supply and reservoirs recovered nicely but by Saturday they again reduced supply to Eikenhof to increase supply via Palmietpumpstation and the Hursthill and Meredale reservoirs etc suffered.

Loadshedding impacts on the ability of Joburg Water to pump water to water towers and onto Mogale and since stage 6 loadshedding reservoirs to the west of the province have never fully recovered exacerbating an already dire situation.

Randwater is a national entity and not a provincial entity even though the Provincial leaders have met with Randwater CEO to discuss the impact of their late communications and system failures and even though some commitments were made at the time – this must driven at a national level.

In short as long as Randwater does not upgrade and proactively maintain their pumps and infrastructure and as long as Eskom cannot guarantee supply the system will continuously fail and residents will suffer. Municipalities also need interventions from provincial and national government to assist buying generators big enough to pump water to towers and onwards.

As the DA we are working with all 3 spheres of government and engaging with Randwater to find a solution to the problem. We will also be engaging with Joburg Water to intensify their own war on potholes caused by bursts and the first line of response teams that can isolate bursts as they happen.

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