Water supply at Gauteng metros hit by pumping station fire

The damage has affected water supply to the metropolitan municipalities in Ekurhuleni‚ Tshwane and Johannesburg.
The damage has affected water supply to the metropolitan municipalities in Ekurhuleni‚ Tshwane and Johannesburg.
Image: 123RF/Andriy Popov

Rand Water has urged Gauteng residents to use water sparingly following damage to pump at the Palmiet pumping station‚ which caught fire last Friday.

This has affected water supply to the metropolitan municipalities in Ekurhuleni‚ Tshwane and Johannesburg.

"On Friday‚ a circuit breaker at the Palmiet pumping station in Alberton exploded and caught fire. As a result‚ the entire engine which pumps water was on fire. This affected two pipelines which supply water to our network‚" Rand Water spokesperson Justice Mohale said on Thursday.

Mohale said that as a result of the damage to the engine‚ Rand Water could not supply water at a normal level.

"This was compounded by the fact that it has been very hot and water consumption was high‚" Mohale said.

Mohale said Rand Water was gradually increasing its water supply to municipalities as it worked to fix the problem.

"With the hot weather forecast‚ we have to urge communities and businesses to use water sparingly."

Mohale said Rand Water reduced supply as it did not want the reservoirs to run out of water completely. If this happened‚ it would take a few days before supply could be restored.

"Because we are not supplying at full capacity‚ it is better to reduce the flow. It is better to have water trickling in than to have no water for two to three days‚" Mohale said.

The city of Tshwane said it was working hard to mitigate the restrictions.

The city said the damage to the engine at the Palmiet station had resulted in the reduction at Rand Water’s Brakfontein reservoir‚ which supplies the western side of Tshwane‚ dropping from 18% on Monday to 12% on Tuesday.

"This prompted Rand Water to increase restrictions from 20% to 30% and also introduce new areas to restrict over the weekend to prevent their reservoir from running dry.

"Rand Water is therefore not able to guarantee that all our areas will receive water at the same time‚" the city said on Wednesday.

On Monday‚ the city said Rand Water reservoirs supplying Centurion and nearby suburbs were experiencing low water levels. The reservoirs most affected included Valhalla and Clifton.

On Tuesday‚ the city said parts of Laudium‚ Saulsville and Atteridgeville‚ west of Pretoria‚ were also affected.

The city said it had dispatched water tankers to assist the communities where there had been a loss of water supply.

"We will continue monitoring the situation from Rand Water and making whatever adjustments we can and the city will continue to communicate on developments in this regard until the issue is resolved‚" Tshwane spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said.

In Johannesburg‚ Diepsloot did not have any water as its reservoir was less than 1m full on Wednesday evening.

Ekurhuleni said the city had applied restrictions on the water network to alleviate pressure on reduced capacity.

It said the areas most affected by low water pressure during peak hours include Bedfordview‚ Edenvale‚ Germiston and Tembisa.

Ekurhuleni urged residents to use water sparingly.

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