By Sindisiwe Dlamini
In recent years, South Africa has been facing a severe water shortage, resulting in significant challenges for its residents and the environment. This water scarcity is primarily attributed to a combination of factors including climate change, inadequate infrastructure, population growth, and inefficient water management systems.
The water shortage in South Africa has far-reaching consequences for both people and the environment. For residents, it means limited access to clean and safe water for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation purposes. Communities are often forced to rely on alternative sources such as water tankers or untreated water, which can pose serious health risks.
One of the most affected places is Joburg, where it has come to a point that the residents are asked to minimise the water usage as Rand Water’s Eikenhof System is severely strained. In order to ensure that there is a sustainable water supply throughout the period of increased demand for Rand Water brought on by the higher temperatures, Gauteng began its annual level 1 water restrictions on September 1, 2023, and they will last until March 31, 2024. However, there has been a considerable increase in water use from customers’ metres, which is putting further strain on Johannesburg’s systems.
Sipho Mosai, CEO of Rand Water, identified municipal capacity and mismanagement as the primary contributors to the crisis of water shortages that continue to plague Gauteng and South Africa. Major water supply problems are currently affecting Gauteng’s major metro areas, leaving some homes without water for days or even weeks at a time. On Wednesday, July 5, 2023, Mosai debunked the claim that Rand Water is experiencing a water supply problem. “Rand Water doesn’t have a problem,” he declared. He clarified that water is supplied in bulk by Rand Water. It purchases water from the Vaal Dam integrated system from the Department of Water and Sanitation. After that, it is purified before being pumped to different water reservoirs spread over four provinces.
Despite the fact that Rand Water’s primary and secondary stations are functioning at full capacity, the company has been unable to maintain high levels in its reservoirs due to excessive consumption by city and nearby region residents. Customers that use water sparingly are also impacted as the system is integrated.
The people of Joburg were given the following advice by the utilities to assist in lowering water usage. Avoid using clean drinking water to water your lawn and gardens, Pool filling should wait until consumption has decreased, never use clean drinking water to clean driveways and paved surfaces, reduce flow and the number of taps in all public facilities, such as filling stations, use buckets to wash your automobiles exclusively on the weekends, take a two-minute shower rather than a bath, when brushing your teeth, do not leave the tap running, your homes’ plumbing fixtures should all be fixed, only flush the brown, not the yellow, in the toilet and they must Inform the appropriate local municipalities of any leaking water pipes.