Mchunu calls for water shifting to address water outages

Water service authorities have been called on by Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, to implement water shifting as part of interim plans to address the challenges that have left some communities in Gauteng without water.

Mchunu held an engagement with community members from South Hill in Johannesburg on Tuesday, following the water supply challenges experienced in the area.

Residents in South Hills have been without water for over two weeks. Johannesburg Water advised that this was as a result of low levels in Rand Water’s Klipriviersberg reservoir, which was caused by the power failure at Rand Water’s Zuikerbosch Water Treatment Plant following the storm on 19 September 2023.

During the meeting, residents complained that while some of them have been without water for weeks, they have received high water bills.

The residents told the Minister that grievances are taken seriously only when they take to the streets. They further said there was zero accountability from the government regarding lack of basic service delivery.

Responding to the community members, Mchunu said decisions taken from the meeting should be implemented as soon as possible.

“We must not subject people to emotional stress all the time. Hold us accountable because water is a sensitive and emotional subject. We are focused on resolving the problems,” Mchunu said.

He said the issues that came from the meeting include accountability, water shifting, poor infrastructure, reservoirs and water conservation.

Regarding water shifting, Mchunu said Rand Water has assured him that they will do load shifting from a line that is not too busy and redirect to Palmiet, until the system recovers and is able to supply even high-lying areas.

“We are going to water shift as an interim measure. Technicians will be monitoring the system 24/7 as we shift water from systems to systems,” Mchunu explained.

The Minister called on Rand Water to have a set timeline for when the extra 150 mega litres will be made available from Station 5A.

He said the City of Johannesburg must start the process of replacing old leaking pipes to stop large volume of water being lost due to leaks.

“Water shifting is not a permanent solution, so we have to do something permanent to address this challenge. I support Joburg Water’s initiative to construct a temporary pump station to assist with the turnaround recovery of water shortages.

“Joburg Water will share implementation plans and time frames regarding the development of the sump at the South Hills tower,” he said.

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation is currently conducting site visits to various areas in Gauteng that have been affected by water outages.

Source: South African Government News Agency