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05/12/2016: Update on water shortages in Johannesburg 

Johannesburg has had some good rains over the last month. However, we are not yet in a position to lift the Level 2 water restrictions. I call on our residents to continue doing everything possible to conserve water and cut back on their usage during these challenging times.
Johannesburg is supplied with water from the Integrated Vaal River System (IVRS). We do not have any local water storage and Rand Water supplies Johannesburg (and most of Gauteng) from the IVRS. Johannesburg Water is a distributor of water and holds supplies of between 24 and 30 hours only.

The good news is that storage in the IVRS has recovered marginally from 49% to 52%, whilst the Vaal dam itself is up from 27% to 37% - this mainly owing to releases from the Sterkfontein Dam as opposed to rain in the catchment area. Therefore, at this current point in time, drought restrictions are here to stay.

The Department of Water Affairs will wait until the system recovers substantially before we will be permitted to lift restrictions. To remind our residents, these restrictions include: no irrigation or sprinkler systems at any time unless borehole supplied; only hand held garden watering before 06h00 and after 18h00; and no watering of paved surfaces. In addition there is a surcharge on the tariff for higher water users.

So far over 500 households have been fined for transgressing these restrictions.

Johannesburg Water’s supply and demand balances

Rand Water has restricted its total supply to Johannesburg by 15%. The good news is that Johannesburg Water has managed to in turn reduce supply to its consumers by the same amount. Whilst this enables us to meet our required targets, it has required significant adjustment in some of the 96 water supply zones in Johannesburg.

Owing to the reduced pressure in the system we still face challenges in some of the supply areas. High lying areas are especially affected due to the challenge of pumping water into their reservoirs. High demand has resulted in many reservoirs becoming critically low. It is vital that we do not allow these reservoirs to run dry as it would take up to two weeks to regain balance.

As a result water is being cut in certain affected areas between 20h00 and 04h00 to allow for reservoirs to recover. However, please note that the actual water loss and return at household level will lag these times by up to one hour. The affected areas are:

• Doornkop/Thulani/Tshepisong: Demand remains high and the higher lying regions are stressed.
• Diepkloof: Demand remains high and the same situation as above applies.
• Lenasia and surrounding areas: To ensure enough supply to the higher lying areas supply has to be reduced to some of the lower areas to allow for more even distribution.
• Midrand, President Park, Rabie Ridge: Demand remains high in these areas, especially when we experience high temperatures. Rationing at night will be starting from Monday, 5 December to allow for reservoirs to recharge.
• Cosmo City: Greater settlement density than originally planned for in this area is also putting the system under pressure.

In many of the above areas the underlying problem is the excessive amount of on-property leaks, as opposed to uncontrolled water usage. Residents are urged to please take steps to repairing these leakages within their houses and on their properties.

We wish to thank the residents of Johannesburg for reducing their water demand to allow us to meet the overall restriction requirements. We know that in the process of adjusting the system some residents have experienced inconvenience. We apologise to affected residents and thank you for your patience.

We again call on our residents to understand the severity of this situation and to please make every effort to do your part in conserving water. By everyone doing their part we can make a real difference and ensure that our water supply is maintained.

Cllr Anthony Still
MMC for Enviornment and Infrastructure Services
City of Joburg

For further information contact:

Hilgard Matthews - Johannesburg Water: 082 883 2816
Tidimalo Chuene - Johannesburg Water: 082 604 6727