/ 14 October 2022

Rand Water to cut flows to Gauteng councils from Friday night to avoid ‘complete systems crash’

South African Department Of Water And Sanitation Opens Sluice Gates At Vaal Dam
Rand Water is already over the limit for water it can extract from the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS) and it would be irresponsible to increase it for Gauteng, said the director general of the department of water and sanitation.(Photo by Deaan Vivier/Beeld/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Rand Water said it would apply flow-control management at its reservoirs from Friday evening to avoid them running empty and a “complete systems crash”.

The move will ensure that Rand Water “takes full control of water supply and no longer relies on consumers to reduce consumption”, spokesperson Makenosi Maroo said.

The utility imposed stage 2 water restrictions last week but water use is still too high for the supply.

Maroo said since the start of spring, Rand Water’s bulk water provision to municipalities had climbed from an average of 4 300 million litres of water a day to 4 900 million litres.

About 17-million people live in municipalities supplied by Rand Water. On average, water consumption in Gauteng per person per day is over 300 litres, compared to the world average of 173 litres per person per day. 

“This is against the backdrop of Rand Water over-abstracting or exceeding its abstraction licence by 400 million cubic metres of water per annum,” Maroo said.

To safeguard the integrity of the system, and to ensure continued supply, Rand

Water imposed a water supply reduction of 30% “so that there is still enough water in the reservoirs to mitigate, among others, intermittent supply”.

Despite the restrictions, she said, water consumption had continued to rise and reservoir levels continue to dwindle because of the higher water usage.

Flow control would be applied from 8pm on Friday until the system recovered, Maroo added.

Intermittent water supply can be expected in many areas within the City of Johannesburg, City of Ekurhuleni, City of Tshwane, Rand West Local Municipality, Mogale City Local Municipality and Rustenburg Local Municipality. To avoid this situation, “consumers must reduce their consumption”.

“We recommend that municipalities impose water restrictions through their by-laws and effectively police their implementation. We further recommend a ban on use of sprinkler systems for watering lawns, use of hosepipes to wash cars and clean pavements as some of the measures to save the situation,” said Maroo.