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WATER CRISIS

Taps run dry again in parts of Joburg and Soweto as supply outages persist

Taps run dry again in parts of Joburg and Soweto as supply outages persist
Residents of Dube and Meadowlands seek alternative means of getting water on 18 March 2024 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Residents of Randburg, Johannesburg, who went without water for weeks this month, were hit by another outage on Monday following Johannesburg Water’s announcement that it was fixing a burst water pipe. In Soweto, water outages continued.

“Water has been closed to allow for repairs of the major pipe burst at 131 Lyndhurst Road,” Johannesburg Water said in a statement on Monday. 

The repairs began at 3am on Monday and were expected to end by 9am on Tuesday. Affected suburbs included Linden, Cresta, President Park, Darrenwood, Windsor, Robindale, Robin Hills, Robin Acres, Randpark and Jacanlee.

Many of those suburbs went without water for weeks this month after a lightning strike at the Eikenhof pump station. Johannesburg Water and Rand Water said the resumption of water supplies was delayed because a valve had been incorrectly closed.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Unfolding water crisis in Johannesburg deepens as officials scramble for answers

Johannesburg Water said it had provided contingency measures to affected areas during the current outage. It said the burst pipe needed to be drained, which necessitated the system being emptied of water.

Ongoing outages 

Last week, Johannesburg Water said water supply was returning to many Soweto reservoirs which were critically low. However, while water has returned to the suburbs affected by issues at the Eikenhof pump station, in many areas in Soweto, people have no water in their homes, while low-pressure water is coming out of communal taps.  

“There is no water in our yards but there is in nearby communal water taps,” said Takalani Mukosi, a Protea South, Soweto, resident.

“My thinking has been that this might be due to the fact that our home supply is connected to our individual water meters, which might not be the case with the communal water taps.”   

Residents of Dube and Meadowlands seek alternative means of getting water on 18 March 2024 in Soweto, South Africa. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

In an update on Soweto on Monday, Johannesburg Water said, “Some areas that are supplied by the Meadowlands reservoir are experiencing low pressure to no water as the reservoir is currently supplying at 50% capacity. Some parts of the supply zone may also experience low pressure.”

Affected areas include Dube, Orlando West, Meadowlands, Mofolo North and Mofolo Central.

“The Aeroton reservoir is also restricted, affecting supply in Diepkloof extension,” Joburg Water said.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Soweto residents scrounge for water amid continuing City of Joburg crisis

Johannesburg Water said the Hector Norris pump station was “experiencing technical challenges” on Monday which affected the Johannesburg CBD, Braamfontein, Newtown, Selby and parts of Parktown. A team was on-site to carry out repairs. 

“There is currently no estimated time for completion,” Johannesburg Water said.

As a stream of water from a burst pipe in Braamfontein flowed down Wolmarans Street, resident Sarah Mpanza said, “We are being taken for a ride. If I can take out my phone now and report this huge burst, they will not arrive. Such is their low competency levels.”

Improvements

The water supply has been restored for some residents who experienced acute shortages in the past few weeks, including in Blairgowrie, which was hardest hit. 

“There have been improvements, yes, but nothing is permanent as the water comes and goes,” Blairgowrie resident Noluntu Moletsane said on Monday. 

“I currently have a lot of water.”

The DA’s Ward 66 councillor, Carlos da Rocha, told Daily Maverick the water situation has improved. Ward 66 covers Bezuidenhout Valley and Kensington in the city’s inner east.

“I’d like to think that the situation has improved, especially because there are no more water-cuts complaints, except one street, which is still complaining. I don’t know if that is the valve again,” Da Rocha said. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Joburg mayor says there is no water crisis as Eikenhof pump station goes down again

Johannesburg Water has said the heatwave and resultant high consumption are partly to blame for the city’s water crisis. DM

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