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Tshwane unsure when water will be restored as Stage 6 rolling blackouts bite

Tshwane unsure when water will be restored as Stage 6 rolling blackouts bite
Rand Water announced that the restoration of power at Rand Water's Mapleton Booster Station has been successfully completed but warned that there will not be immediate relief in the water supply system and that it will take them up to five days to restore the water supply. (Photo: Unsplash / Bhavya Lakhlani)

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink says he plans to end reliance on Rand Water as residents continue to face water shortages.

The City of Tshwane has told residents to expect dry taps as most areas within the metro will either experience low water pressure or no water at all. 

A power supply failure at Rand Water’s Mapleton booster station in Ekurhuleni had affected the Vlakfontein reservoir that supplies Tshwane.

“The cause of the power failure is being investigated by the water utility’s technicians who are on site,” the City of Tshwane said in a statement on Saturday, 15 April.

This power failure had resulted in depletion or declining levels of other Rand Water reservoirs — Brakpan, Selcourt, Bronberg, Wildebeesfontein and Stompiesfontein, the city said. “[C]hallenges of low water pressure to no water will be experienced in most areas within Tshwane jurisdiction.”

Rand Water said on Sunday that power at the Mapleton booster station had been successfully restored and the booster station had “achieved full capacity”. It would, however, take up to five days to restore the water supply.

There have been several instances recently when parts of the municipality have been without water. Centurion residents blocked streets over a three-week water outage last month.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Centurion protesters block streets over three-week water outage

Although Rand Water has attributed water supply problems to rolling blackouts, cable theft and a lack of maintenance, newly elected mayor Cilliers Brink says he believes there is a bigger problem in play.

He told Daily Maverick that he would voice his concerns about the lack of communication about maintenance when he meets with Rand Water in the coming days. 

“Load shedding has probably caused a lot of damage for Rand Water … but what we want to avoid in future is where we are given almost no notice or insufficient notice, landing us in situations like this,” he said. 

Brink said a long-term solution would be for Tshwane to become less reliant on a single supplier — both for water and electricity.

He said when Rand Water’s problems with supply had started, the city had not thought the disruption would last long.

“There were no real logistical plans to deploy water tankers… Water tankers are extremely expensive and we have had to use them over and over again with no compensation from Rand Water.” 

Eskom announced at the weekend that Stage 6 rolling blackouts would continue indefinitely. Brink expressed concerns that this would affect attempts to restore water in the city. DM


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