Rand Water, Ekurhuleni Water fails to communicate with residents on water outages

Benoni residents have been left without water for the last five days after the Northmead Tower ran empty. There has been little to no communication from Rand Water and Ekurhuleni Water on this issue leaving councillors and residents in the dark. It was reported that pumps are now functioning, although reservoirs are still struggling to recover.

Another breakdown at the Rand Water Vereeniging water treatment plant over the weekend has severely impacted the Eikenhof pumping station leaving residents without water for the last two days. Yesterday residents and councillors marched to the South Dale depot to demand answers and will be meeting with Joburg Water on site today.

The water situation in Gauteng has reached epic proportions with residents in the South, East and North East of the province being without water more often. Gauteng needs action and communication immediately.

It is high time that Rand Water, Joburg Water and Ekurhuleni Water get their house in order and start communicating every couple of hours.

Areas affected by the most recent breakdown are:

  • Parts of Linksfield
  • Benoni
  • Jeppe
  • Bedfordview
  • Sandringham
  • Orange Grove
  • Orchards
  • Highlands North
  • Waverley
  • Savoy Estate
  • Bedford Park
  • Senderwood
  • Morning Hill
  • Bramley North
  • Kew

While breakdowns in systems do occur occasionally, residents must be kept informed on when they can expect the water supply to be restored. Provisions and communications for water tankers and the renting of additional water tankers should be improved.

The recent announcement of the R28 billion investment for the water infrastructure in the province should be used to create a special grant for municipalities to upgrade and fix their water infrastructure. It is also important that all municipalities produce a water security report to address the shortfall of tankers.

The DA will closely monitor this situation and ensure that our councillors are equipped with regular updates to communicate with residents on the situation at all times. We will keep pushing for an inter-governmental task team to be established to find a solution to the ongoing water crisis.

The water crisis intensifies due to Rand Water’s lack of maintenance of infrastructure

Gauteng residents have been left with no water due to Rand Water’s lack of adequate and regular maintenance of its water infrastructure. There has been a breakdown at the Vereeniging purification plant and a burst at the Palmiet pumping station, it is alleged that it was tampered with, which has impacted municipalities in rendering water to its residents.

Residents are urged to use water sparingly as the full recovery of the system could take up to 5 days. Please see the image here.

Three metros have been severely impacted, namely, Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Ekurhuleni. The residents in those metros are now suffering a double blow of no water and electricity due to continuous load shedding and water crisis in the province.

Some of the affected areas have been with no water since Friday. This is severely affecting the residents’ lives and digging deep into their pockets as some are forced to buy water while others have to travel to neighbouring suburbs to fetch water.

Water is life, and access to water is a basic right that our residents are currently being deprived of by this government. For far too long, the DA has been exposing Rand Water’s incompetency, and we have been pleading with the current government to adopt our proposal to curb the water crisis in the province.

However, instead of responding positively to this crisis, they displayed arrogance and used it as a politicking tool to lash out at us at the expense of our residents that are suffering due to a lack of constant water supply.

We reiterate our demand for the establishment of an intergovernmental task team comprising all spheres of government to find permanent solutions to the ongoing water crisis in the province. We also propose the establishment of an infrastructure protection task team to combat the vandalism of our infrastructure.

The DA also demands that there should be a closer and continuous working relationship between law enforcement agencies and Rand Water to protect and safeguard our water infrastructure.

Furthermore, we urge all our municipalities to declare war on water leaks to preserve water and manage water loss. We also urge residents to use water sparklingly and not to exceed their daily limits, and adhere to water level restrictions so that they can continue to access an uninterrupted water supply.

Water leaks at Rand Water Eikenhof water reservoir and pumping station, while Gauteng residents are asked to use less water

Today, the Democratic Alliance (DA) embarked on a fact-finding mission to the Rand Water Eikenhof water reservoir and pumping station, and we were disappointed to discover that that there is a water leak and that clean drinking water was flowing freely just outside the pumping station, while residents are being asked to save water.

Rand Water blames our residents for not using water sparingly but from what we saw today, it is clear that this entity is failing to ensure that their infrastructure is properly maintained. Regular maintenance of our water infrastructure is critical if we want to prevent this infrastructure from collapsing.

We also engaged with the local ward councillors whose areas are the most affected by the load-shedding and current throttling of the supply of water in Hursthill.

Residents have to rely on water tankers and, in one incident a 13-year-old child was knocked down by a car while collecting water and is in critical condition. Old age homes and hospitals in the area are also affected by the shortage of water.

It is for this reason that next week we will be laying a complaint with the South African Human Rights Commission (HRC) regarding the current water situation in the province. Our residents are being denied their basic human rights by not having access to a constant reliable supply of water on a daily basis.

While residents can manage without electricity, they cannot survive without water. Furthermore, this is also having a negative impact on businesses that are required to use water in the production of their goods.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the relevant government stakeholders and entities to urgently establish an intergovernmental task team that will come up with a decisive plan that will ensure all residents can have access to a reliable supply of water.

Time for Rand Water to come clean about the real reason for Gauteng residents being left without water

It is high time that Rand Water comes clean about the real reasons why it has started throttling the supply of water to residents across the Gauteng Province.

For nearly a month, the country has been subjected to load-shedding, which has now affected the supply of water to our residents. Many residents have been left with low water pressure or no water at all due to the ongoing load-shedding.

Furthermore, load-shedding, and reduced water pressure affect sewage lines that rely on a constant flow of water to push waste material in the system downline.

The Minister for Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, has awarded Rand Water with a license for additional capacity which means increased water pressure. While we welcome the increased capacity, we should be cautiously optimistic as the lack of maintenance of water infrastructure may result in more bursts due to increased water pressure.

The DA is therefore demanding that Rand Water restore the water supply to its full capacity and take our residents in their confidence and explain exactly why there is a problem with the supply of water in this province.

In addition, the DA will continue to demand that an inter-governmental task team is set up to deal with the water crisis. Our municipalities are the ones that are severely impacted, as they must ensure that all our residents have access to an uninterrupted water supply.

The DA is urging all our residents to please use water sparingly and adhere to the current water restrictions that are in place so that we can have a continued reliable supply of water.

The DA will also be engaging our residents affected by the current water crisis and will be running awareness campaigns regarding water-saving measures that can be implemented.

#GautengWaterCrisis: Minister Mchunu, Premier Makhura and Rand Water snub their noses at DA’s request for meetings and discussions on the Gauteng water crisis

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has received no response from the Office of the Premier, Rand Water and the Minister of Water and Sanitation regarding our letters in which we requested that they urgently share their plans regarding the current water crisis in the province.

In our letter to the CEO of Rand Water, we requested an urgent meeting to discuss the way forward once the entity embarks on its planned maintenance of our water infrastructure. This request has been met with silence.

We also wrote to Premier David Makhura, regarding the fact that our municipalities do not have sufficient water tankers to ensure that all residents affected by the water outages during maintenance are supplied with water. On two previous occasions when Rand Water embarked on maintenance, the municipalities like Tshwane were not given sufficient notice so that they could procure additional water tankers. In this letter, we asked the Premier to liaise with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to provide municipalities with water tankers. Again, this letter was met with silence.

In addition, we also wrote a letter to the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu regarding the refusal by his department to issue Rand Water with an additional licence to increase the water capacity in the province. Again, no response was received.

This is very worrying as the provision of water is a basic human right enshrined in our Constitution. As the DA, we have a responsibility to ensure that all our residents are given access to basic services and that their basic human rights are not infringed upon. In all our communication with the various stakeholders, we have offered solutions that would help to mitigate the problems that may arise from prolonged water outages due to the maintenance of our bulk water infrastructure.

In the next few days, we will be meeting with all our Mayors to discuss the plans that will be put in place to ensure the continuous supply of water to our residents.

Furthermore, the DA has received thousands of signatures on our petition to the Premier and COGTA MEC to lobby their national counterparts to engage with the South African Defence Force to assist with water tankers during the water outages. We also demand a proper audit of all our water infrastructure in Gauteng.

We urge all Gauteng residents to sign our petition to help end the water crisis in Gauteng. To sign or access the DA’s Water Crisis Petition, please click this link: https://petitions.da.org.za/p/gauteng-water-crisis

Gauteng residents will suffer without water should Rand Water and SANDF not assist with water tanks

Rand Water has scheduled water outages due to maintenance of water infrastructure from 1-3 April 2022 which will result in many areas across Gauteng not having water, yet the municipalities do not have sufficient water tankers to provide water to the affected areas. There is an urgent need for the Gauteng Provincial Government to engage their national counterparts Minister of Water and Sanitation and Minister of Defence to assist with water tankers to supply water to the affected areas.

The areas that will be most affected are parts of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, and Mogale City. Access to water is a Constitutional right and it is the responsibility of all-government stakeholders to ensure that all affected residents will have access to water during that period.

It is concerning that Rand Water has not yet extensively communicated their planned water outages due to maintenance to all the stakeholders, particularly the communities that will be affected. There is also no contingency plan on how the affected areas will be provided with water.

In recent months, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, and Johannesburg have been severely affected by ongoing water outages for weeks due to water disruptions and failures of the Rand Water. These water outages are either not communicated or are communicated late by Rand Water not giving affected municipalities enough time to plan on how they will provide water to the affected areas.

It is high time that Rand Water improves its level of communication to the municipalities to keep their communities informed with regard to water outages and estimated time of restoration.

There is a serious challenge of water infrastructure in the province as it is old and dilapidated, there is a dire need for proper and regular maintenance of water infrastructure to ensure that our people have access to water daily.

The DA raised these questions directly to the Minister on Tuesday during a Ministerial briefing, where he gave no real commitment as to how they will address the problem, but merely shifted the blame to loadshedding which is also as a result of the failures of a national entity.

The DA is demanding for inter-governmental approach in dealing with the water crisis in Gauteng. The Gauteng Provincial Government must engage with the following national departments; the Department of Water and Sanitation and the Department of Defence to assist the municipalities with water tankers. This will ensure that all the affected communities are not denied their basic right to access water. This will also ease pressure from the municipalities that are usually being blamed for water outages while it is the responsibility of Rand Water to supply water.

Rand Water continues to fail our people yet there is nothing being done to this government entity. DA will continue to exert pressure on the government to intervene and solve challenges affecting service delivery at Rand Water for the benefit of all our residents. Water is life and the DA will continue to fight to ensure that all our people have access to the uninterrupted water supply.

Tshwane residents suffer ongoing water crisis due to Rand Water’s incompetency

The residents of Tshwane are now suffering because of the ongoing water crisis in some parts of the city due to the non-functioning of pump stations that feed water to certain reservoirs.

Most areas in the east of Pretoria have been without water since Saturday, 5 February 2022. Some of the areas affected are Moreleta Park, Constantia Park, Erasmuskloof, Pretorius Park, Olympus, Zwavelpoort, Wilds, Woodhill, Garsfontein, Faerie Glen, parts of Mamelodi and Kungwini.

The water interruptions are because of power failures from Eskom’s power station that supplies electricity to Rand Water. The power failure occurred on Saturday and resulted in Rand Water not being able to supply any water to numerous reservoirs, and the reservoirs were also unable to pump water through to certain areas. This situation affected the water supply to the residents of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.

Electricity was restored and the reservoirs had started pumping water, however, there was another electricity trip on Wednesday. The trip was fixed, and Rand Water has stopped its pumps from distributing water in some areas in Tshwane. Rand Water is currently filling up water in the reservoirs to a level that is high enough before they start providing water to Tshwane and other affected areas.

The City of Tshwane’s resources is currently stretched, following the flooding over the weekend as the local disaster management unit had to use all the resources that they had, and additional support is vital from the province in a crisis such as this.

The City does not have sufficient water tankers to provide water to all the affected residents without the assistance of either Eskom or Rand Water. This is leaving the majority of the east of Tshwane residents without water.

The DA strongly believes that water is a necessity and access to water is a Constitutional right and as such all-government stakeholders must ensure access to water for all residents. Since this issue originated from a problem from a national entity, we believe that it requires both national and provincial intervention as a matter of urgency.

The DA has written to the Premier, MEC for COGTA, HOD for COGTA, Provincial Disaster Management and the CEO of Rand Water to urgently assist the City of Tshwane with provincial water tankers to distribute water to the affected areas. We also requested that the Premier’s office should assist in ensuring that Rand Water is held financially accountable for failing to provide water.

 The DA is also asking for an urgent report from Rand Water to provide us with details on the following:

• What are the reasons behind water interruptions in some parts of Tshwane?

• Why has the water supply not been restored and when will it be restored?

• What support is Rand Water providing to the City of Tshwane to ensure that residents have access to an uninterrupted water supply?

• Will Rand Water be providing water tankers to the affected areas, or will they be assisting the City of Tshwane to pay the water bills if Tshwane had to outsource water tankers to supply water to the affected areas?

• Why there was no disaster plan in place in a case like this to be able to ensure that the residents have access to water?

• How do you intend to prevent water supply interruptions again and ensure such incidents don’t occur in the future?

The DA will also request the municipality to do an investigation and fact-finding mission on the functioning of the reservoir pressure pumps, maintenance and disaster management plans to prevent similar events like these in the future.

We further appeal to Rand Water to improve their communication and ensure that up to date information is sent to the municipalities to keep the communities informed. Rand Water must also ensure that water is restored in all the affected areas so that residents can have access to water as is their basic human right.

South Hills water crisis sits at the hands of Rand Water and Eskom

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon in Linmeyer and South Hills, Johannesburg, visiting residents that have been consistently affected by water outages in the area.

The South Hills water tower which supplies water to areas such as South Hills, Linmeyer, Risana, Tulisa Park, parts of Oakdene and parts of Rosettenville Extension, left residents without water for over a week at the beginning of this month. These residents found themselves in the same predicament back in July this year, when they went without water for nine days.

The South Hills water tower is a microcosm of the legacy of Rand Water’s failure to proactively and systematically maintain their infrastructure. The reasons given for the latest water outages in the area was that the Meyers Hill reservoir was below the threshold at which water could be pumped into the South Hills tower. Rand Water had a power supply issue at their Zuikerbosch purification works plant towards the end of August, which affected pump stations feeding into Meyers Hill. Just this past weekend, the Zuikerbosch plant again was affected by power supply interruption at Eskom’s Snowden substation.

However, it is not only power outages that affects supply to water towers. While Rand Water tries to scapegoat electricity as the only reason, they also throttle water supply when conducting reactive maintenance of their ageing and neglected infrastructure. If Rand Water proactively and systematically maintained their infrastructure over the years since their inception, water supply outages would be a far less common occurrence for residents in Johannesburg, and across Gauteng.

Added to this, Eskom still plays a part in the breakdown of water supply in Gauteng. Constant loadshedding has weakened bulk water supply infrastructure, while the national power supplier has also failed to maintain their own neglected infrastructure. The domino effect is there for all to see, especially when it is residents who are forced to collect water from trucks down the road.

Financial year after financial year, City Power has not been given a sufficient budget to upgrade their own infrastructure to help supplement the failures of Eskom. This just goes to show the positive impact that Independent Power Producers could play in the delivery of critical basic services such as water provision, where public entities such as Eskom miserably fail.

Johannesburg needs innovative and forward thinking when it comes to the supply of basic services. A metro municipality cannot be held ransom by failing national entities such as Rand Water and Eskom who do not have the will to keep the lights on and the taps running. There already exists municipal-owned power and water suppliers in the form of City Power and Johannesburg Water. With the right political leadership and sufficient allocation of budgets, these entities can pick up where national entities fail in their duties, so that residents no longer suffer, and can have a government that is closer to them who is responsible for all their basic services.

A DA-led Johannesburg would invest R20 billion on fixing, replacing, and upgrading roads, bridges, water pipes, waste water plants and power grids, will fix reported water leaks within 24 hours, and seek greater public-private partnerships to address the existing backlog so that residents can start being liberated from non-existent basic service delivery.

Rand Water supply crisis sending Gauteng into desert drought territory

Gauteng is dangerously heading towards a full-blown water supply crisis, following Rand Water’s admission through a statement released yesterday that demand is overstripping supply, forcing the entity to implement stage one water curtailments and calling on consumers to change their behaviour to avoid an absolute disaster.

While Rand Water, the entity that supplies to all three of Gauteng’s metro municipalities, blames weather patterns for the poor natural supply of water, the entity still fails to acknowledge that the primary contributor to water shortages is the lack of managing and sustaining their infrastructure, to avoid leaks and other unnecessary water wastage.

Water supply challenges are being experienced across the Gauteng, especially in the metro municipalities, however, the DA-led Tshwane is the only metro raising awareness of this looming crises, while Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni sit on their hands, pretending nothing is wrong. It is only due to pressure from the DA-led Tshwane that Rand Water has come out to publicly admit there is a problem that requires intervention, but still fails to stress the real urgency of the situation.

There are several areas across Tshwane and Johannesburg experiencing water outages that rely on supply from Rand Water. For Tshwane, this includes areas such as Soshanguve, Atteridgeville, Laudium, Mnandi and parts of Centurion, whereas in Johannesburg there is a long list of affected areas such as Klipfontein View, who have not had running water for over three weeks, and the Kikuyu Lifestyle estate that is supplied by the Grand Central Resevoir, Mulbarton in Ward 23, Robertsham, South Hills, Linmeyer, sections of Midrand, Ivory Park and Buccleuh.

Rand Water and the ANC-led Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni are not taking the province’s water supply crises seriously. It is imperative that Premier David Makhura, and MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile urgently lead an engagement with Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu to ensure that Rand Water is immediately reigned in so that Gauteng does not fall to drought status like the provinces of the Eastern Cape and Northern Cape are currently experiencing.

Running water is a basic human right as enshrined in our country’s constitution and its imperative that the residents of Gauteng are kept informed and forewarned in order for them to prepare to ensure that their families do not suffer in the midst of an already hot summer season. In the absence of communication from both Rand Water and the ANC government, the DA will continue to communicate with the residents of Gauteng as information becomes available.

We simply do not have the luxury of time to mess around and wait until it is too late.

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New Johannesburg water restrictions can be avoided in future by declaring substations, water reservoirs and towers as national key points

The City of Johannesburg’s bulk water supplier, Rand Water has today issued a notice of 20% water restrictions to Gauteng municipalities. This is due to the water demand consistently exceeding the water supply, while Rand Water has also experienced a power supply issue at their Zuikerbosh purification works yesterday, which has negatively impacted their Palmiet pumping system that feeds their Meyers Hill reservoir which supplies the South Hills tower.

The residents of Johannesburg have been constantly experiencing low to no water supply for days on end. This is on top of ageing substations that break down due to frequent loadshedding, causing further unplanned outages for residents.

There is a simple solution to this dilemma that can prevent such water shortages or unplanned outages in the future. National government must immediately declare all electrical substations, water reservoirs and towers as national key points. This would in effect, protect these critical infrastructure assets from Eskom-sponsored rolling blackouts, and further ensure a stable water supply during loadshedding and after loadshedding, while also protecting ageing substations from surges that cause their breakdowns.

My colleague in the Gauteng Legislature, Nico De Jager MPL, will continue pushing provincial government to engage with their national counter parts to action these solutions so that the City of Johannesburg can gain some sense of basic service delivery stability again.

The residents of Johannesburg need immediate action to prevent these two critical basic services from being hampered any further.