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How Gauteng’s water woes will be fixed in the coming years

The department of water and sanitation met municipalities in Gauteng to address the lack of water supply

A man fetches water from a government-supplied water tank. File image
A man fetches water from a government-supplied water tank. File image
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE

Gauteng water users consume the highest litres of water per day, with each person consuming 300 litres daily compared to the average 233 litres per person per day across the country.

The current water demand in the province is 4,563 megalitres per day but Rand Water is only able to supply 4,431 megalitres per day.

Five percent of this is lost within the Rand Water System, meaning only 3,968 megalitres reach municipalities per day, said minister of water and sanitation Senzo Mchunu.

The province is largely supplied by the Vaal Dam, which is sitting at a capacity of 103%. Despite this, there is a shortage of supply in some municipalities in terms of the daily supply versus the daily demand, he said.

“Therefore, to self-sustain water provision in SA and Gauteng in particular, there are short, medium and long terms plans that the department is implementing with Rand Water and municipalities in Gauteng,” he said.

The consolidated megalitres increase is anticipated to be 600 megalitres. To mitigate this, Rand Water and municipalities have committed an estimated R3.3bn for the next two years, said Mchunu.

City of Johannesburg has set aside R402m for the next 18 months to construct a new Crosby Pump Station, a new bulk line to connect Rand Water supply to the Crosby Reservoir and Brixton Reservoir and Tower.

Joburg Water revised its water conservation and water demand strategies in October 2021 to reduce the demand by 37,123 megalitres per year. This is through interventions such as pressure management, active leak detection, pipeline replacement and customer metering, Mchunu said.

“This intervention is already in place for the 2022/2023 financial year and has drastically reduced its physical losses,” Mchunu said.

The City of Tshwane has planned to spend R350m in the next 24 months to augment new water infrastructure such as reservoirs, bulk pipelines and towers for the Soshanguve, Atteridgeville, Laudium and Erasmia system. Mooikloof, the western part of Centurion, Garsfontein and other surrounding areas are included.

“City of Tshwane, however, needs a project investment of at least R7.8bn year on year for the next 10 years to match its infrastructure backlog and future upgrades.”

“In addition, Ekurhuleni metro has a planned R581m for the next two years to address pipeline upgrades, construction of new reservoirs and towers that will aid relief to affected areas such as Tsakane, Vlakfontein, Duduza, Benoni and others. Ekurhuleni still has a water and sanitation infrastructure backlog of at least R19.1bn with infrastructure almost reaching its designed useful life,” Mchunu said.

Smaller municipalities face similar challenges, such as the Emfuleni local municipality which has planned a water services investment of R410m for the next two years for upgrading infrastructure to reduce common challenges such as illegal connections and poor speed and quality of repairs.

A total of R150m will be spent at Lesedi municipality to upgrade and replace the asbestos cement water supply pipelines in Heidelberg by drilling boreholes in rural areas in Lesedi. This includes the construction of a 15 megalitres reservoir for Obed Nkosi township and bulk water supply pipeline.

The Midvaal municipality requires a R1.43bn investment for the next five years.

“However, they have for the next two years R56m aimed at addressing aged infrastructure and installation of zonal bulk meters to measure accurately its demand and supply patterns. Meanwhile, Rand West local municipality has planned R18.5m for the construction of alternative water supply pipeline in Glenharvie, replacing of conventional meters with prepaid water in Finsbury.

The Merafong local municipality has allocated R271m for the next two years to rehabilitate the old reservoir since it contributes to structural instability caused by sinkholes. The Adata Khutsong reservoir project will also commence.

Mogale City has a planned budget of R710.1m for the next two years. Beyond 2025, at least R1.32bn will be required to construct four solar powered boreholes and 8km water reticulation for the Sekata community, as well as the construction of a five megalitre steel reservoir and implementation of a 15 megalitre steel reservoir.

TimesLIVE


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