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More than 50 tankers deployed to help Joburg suburbs hit by water ‘crisis’

Coronationville residents collect water from a tanker. Johannesburg Water has provided an overview of the state of supply in the city.
Coronationville residents collect water from a tanker. Johannesburg Water has provided an overview of the state of supply in the city.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

Johannesburg Water says more than 100 tankers are providing water to various areas in the city and 55 have been deployed to suburbs hit by a water shortage “crisis”. 

The entity's COO Derrick Kgwale briefed media about the state of water supply in the city on Friday.

This was the second such briefing in a week, but this one delved into suburbs critically affected by water shortages. 

These are South Hills, Crown Gardens and parts of the Commando System.

Johannesburg Water's senior manager for networks Logan Munsamy gave an update on the performance of the Rand Water reservoirs that feed Johannesburg Water's reservoirs and towers.

Johannesburg Water gets its supply from the reservoirs fed by the Daleside, Zwartkopjes, Eikenhof and Palmiet booster pump stations.

Palmiet feeds Klipriviersberg 1 and 2 as well as Klipfontein 1 and 2. The Klipriviersberg reservoirs feed South Hills towers and the Alexander Park reservoir while Klipfontein mostly feeds Midrand. Eikenhof feeds into Meredale 1 and 2 and Waterval 1 and 2 reservoirs.

“Klipriviersberg 1 and 2, one can notice week-on-week there's a positive trajectory. There's an upward trajectory in the level. On October 12, the reservoirs were on 18% and 17% respectively. A week later [Friday], they're up slightly at 19% and 18%,” Munsamy said.

“The same applies to Klipfontein 1 and 2, week-on-week there is [also] an upward movement. Forty-four percent to 46% and 41% to 44% respectively. This is a bird's-eye view which tells us that the Rand Water system that's fed off the Palmiet is going on an upward trajectory, which is positive news.”

Rand Water's targets for these reservoirs is 60%.

Munsamy also touched on the performance of the reservoirs under Eikenhof, saying they displayed similar patterns. 

The two Meredale reservoirs had moved from 13% to 16% and 16% to 18% respectively, while Waterval 1 and 2 moved from 24% to 22% and 21% to 24%. Rand Water's targets for these two are 55% and 65% respectively.

During this period of crisis, or water disruptions, there's about 55 water tankers at different settlements where we are assisting those systems which are constrained
Johannesburg Water COO Derrick Kgwale 

Turning to critical systems, Munsamy said the three reservoirs and towers under the Commando System are “constrained” but despite this, it [commando] is not restricted from the Rand Water system because it is a “sensitive system”. The reservoirs affected are Crosby, Brixton and Hursthill 1 and 2. The worst hit is Crosby, which is at 5% as opposed to Thursday when it was empty.

Another critical system is the South Hill tower, which feeds areas such as Risana, Tulsa Park and Linmeyer and its supply status is “low to intermittent flows”, according to Munsamy.

The Berea reservoir, supplied by the C12 pipeline from the Zwartkopjes system, is at 27% while the “outlet is 50% opened”. The reservoir has a low supply and is relying on roaming water tankers.

This reservoir feeds water to Bertrams, Bezuidenhout Valley, Bruma and Cyrildene.

Kgwale confirmed tankers were an outsourced service and operated in two ways.

“You have your day-to-day, which is a service dedicated to informal settlements. You're aware that in the City of Johannesburg, there are about 312 informal settlements and because of the nature of these settlements, they haven't been provided with potable running water and therefore the only alternative is to provide water tankers.

“At any given point there are about 61 tankers deployed to various informal settlements from Orange Farm to Ivory Park. The second portion of this sort of service, which is also outsourced, is what we call emergency water tankering service. During this period of crisis, or water disruptions, there are about 55 water tankers at different settlements where we are assisting those systems which are constrained,” he said.

Kgwale defended the quality of water from tankers, saying it was tested regularly with water from Rand Water and is safe for consumption. 

He was unable to provide a cost for using the tankers, saying that would only be possible once the entity passes the ongoing crisis.

TimesLIVE

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