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Joburg Water urges residents to conserve water


The City of Johannesburg has appealed to residents and businesses to cut down on their water consumption in the wake of the ongoing drought, high temperatures and falling dam levels.

The appeal also comes after the national Department of Water and Sanitation called on Joburg Water, the City’s water and sanitation infrastructure and services provision entity, to reduce water usage by 15%.

Speaking during a media briefing on Monday September 5, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Environment and Infrastructure Services Cllr Anthony Still said water consumption in Johannesburg needed to be reduced by 15% to ensure reservoirs did not run dry. Rand Water will reduce its supply to Johannesburg Water by 15% as a result.

Water levels in the Integrated Vaal River System have dropped below the 60% threshold. The Vaal River itself is at 33.2%. Johannesburg residents consume 1.5 billion litres of water a day.
The City introduced level 2 water restrictions in November 2015. To ensure that these restrictions are complied with, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) could soon start handing out fines.

“We have to bring in the JMPD. It has probably never been asked to help with this sort of thing. We’ll ask them to issue a fine if they see sprinklers going. And [the fine] will be added to the water bill,” Cllr Still said.

He said Johannesburg Water was trying not to switch to level 3 restrictions as that would result in water cuts in places. Joburg Water Managing Director Lungile Dlamini called on residents not to top up their pools with municipal water.

“Public swimming pools will be exempted,” said Dlamini. He said the JMPD would also look out for people, especially in the inner city, who used fire hydrants to wash their cars. The City is aware that there are fire hydrants that are being abused. People who run car washes must also use buckets to wash cars,” said Dlamini.

Residents are compelled not to water their gardens between 6am and 6pm. The use of sprinklers is not allowed. Residents are encouraged to use hosepipes and water cans to water their gardens instead. No hosepipes may be used to wash cars and clean pavements. The restrictions will be suspended as soon as Gauteng receives good rainfalls.

The restriction tariffs to be imposed include:

10% extra on consumption of between 20 000 litres and 30 000 litres a month;
20% extra on consumption of between 30 000 litres and 40 000 litres a month; and
30% extra on consumption above 40 000 litres a month.
The system will be throttled between 20h00 and 04h00 in areas where there is high demand. This means that the water flow will be reduced. Cllr Still said Joburg Water had an active leak detection and water network pressure modulation system.

“We are some way into replacing 900km of reticulation pipes. Earlier this year, we encouraged people to drill boreholes. So far a 20% increase in demand for boreholes since the start of this year has been shown,” said Cllr Still.