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Day one of Joburg water disruptions smooth, with tankers helping out

Gill Gifford Senior journalist
The shutdown is to allow Rand Water to bring a new water line on to the system to ensure Joburg will have enough water to meet the city's needs after 2040.
The shutdown is to allow Rand Water to bring a new water line on to the system to ensure Joburg will have enough water to meet the city's needs after 2040.
Image: 123rf/Marinos Karafyllidis

Less than 12 hours into the planned 54-hour Rand Water disruption, and already some areas had reported outages with mobile tankers being sent out.

The shutdown is to allow Rand Water to bring a new main line on to the system, to ensure Joburg will have enough water after 2040.

Joburg Water said early on Monday that the Linden water tower was down, and mobile tankers had been sent out to the areas affected — Robindale, Darrenwood, Ferndale, Linden and Blairgowrie.

Spokesperson Eleanor Mavimbela said all the city’s other reservoirs were “in a stable state”, but water was running low at the Jabulani reservoir and it was expected that the Brixton, Hursthill and Crosby reservoirs would soon be affected, as all were high-lying.

She said 47 stationary water tanks had been placed in all the areas that these reservoirs feed.

Health department spokesperson Kwara Kekana said that contingency measures were in place, no problems had been reported and monitoring across the province found there had been no reported water interruptions at any health facilities.

But despite this, she said, water tankers and mobile toilets had been set up at Chris Hani Baragwanath, Bheki Mlangeni and Helen Joseph hospitals, and at other health facilities.

“This is in addition to existing resources we have in those facilities,” she said, adding that plans were in place to ensure minimal water usage at essential facilities.

Other services were affected and have implemented closures over the three days for which the shutdown has been scheduled.

City of Joburg communications officer Poppy Louw said face-to-face access to department of development planning officials would be limited for the duration of the water disruption.

She said ratepayers needing to contact department officials were urged to email officials who will be working from home. Land use development managers can be emailed at LandUseApplications@joburg.org.za, while applications to legal admin can be sent to LegalAdminApplications@joburg.org.za.

She said requests to corporate geo-informatics can be emailed to cgiscounter@joburg.org.za for electronic responses and building plans can be sent to BuildingApplications@joburg.org.za.

Other units affected include archives, outdoor advertising and plans examinations. She said the single law enforcement unit will conduct field work and built environment contraventions can be reported to ComplaintsPLE@joburg.org.za.

Louw said officials who have been working from home would be available via email and phone.

The National Prosecuting Authority said that due to the water cuts, all matters in the Johannesburg high court on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday would be automatically postponed to Thursday.

All JMPD services have also been suspended for three days. Only skeleton staff will be on duty at testing stations and licensing offices in the affected areas until noon on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Gauteng's department of education said no water disruptions were experienced at schools on Monday. Spokesperson Steve Mabona said this was because many schools had boreholes, and the outage was during exam time when pupils were not expected to be at school for a full day.

He said prior warning meant that schools had been able to prepare.

Nonetheless, he said parents are encouraged to give children water bottles.


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