OFFICE OF THE MMC: UTILITY SERVICES AND REGIONAL OPERATIONS AND COORDINATION
Block B | 2nd Floor | Tshwane House | 320 Madiba Street | Pretoria PO Box 440 | 0001
Tel: 084 332 4413
MMC Phillip Nel
Utility Services and Regional Operation Coordination
16 March 2021
Understanding water restrictions and the importance of saving and conserving water
The City of Tshwane would like to provide a supplementary explanation to yesterday’s media release, reminding residents about ongoing water restrictions and urging residents to save water.
We have received many questions from all over the municipality asking how can the City of Tshwane can have water restrictions in place if the dams that provide water to Gauteng via Rand Water are currently full.
The answer to this is that there are two primary reasons for water restrictions to be implemented at any given time.
The first reason is that the amount of water in our dams is getting low and we are concerned that they may run dry, necessitating lowering consumption until the supply of unprocessed water to the dams increases and the dams refill.
This is not the case at the moment as many of the dams in the area are full, nonetheless Gauteng is a water scarce area and the water supply will always be under pressure.
The second reason is that the amount of water consumed exceeds the capacity of the supply network and our water treatment plants. This results in Rand Water’s reservoirs getting low.
They then need to limit usage to prevent the reservoirs from running out of water, which is the case in the current situation.
Rand Water abstracts the water from the Vaal river scheme at various points. They purify the water to a drinking water standard and then distribute it to all the Gauteng municipalities.
Their infrastructure can only purify and distribute a certain amount of water and currently we (Tshwane and other Gauteng municipalities as a whole) are exceeding Rand Water’s capacity.
Thus, The Rand Water reservoirs are running low as we use water faster than they can purify and supply to the municipalities in the province.
In order to maintain and stabilize the supply, the cities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni (and all Gauteng municipalities), all need to encourage their residents to use less water.
The total usage during this warmer period is too high and needs to be reduced until it matches Rand Water’s processing capability.
The limit of Rand Water to provide water is why most municipalities in Gauteng already have water restrictions currently implemented.
It is not that the water supply from Rand Water is shrinking, but rather that the demand for water is growing due to population growth and economic development.
The supply side will only increase once the Lesotho Highlands Water System is built and Rand Water grows its water provision infrastructure.
Gauteng is a water scarce area and growing the water supply to the area is an increasingly difficult task.
Tshwane is constantly investing in additional boreholes and fortunately due to the 4 fountains around the city the municipality obtains only 79% of our water from Rand Water.
As residents of Tshwane I plead with you to please work together to ensure that the limited supply of drinkable water does not run out.
By acting now and doing our part to be careful not to waste water we will avoid any further restrictions or greater challenges in the future.
Media inquiries: Phillipn@tshwane.gov.za