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DWS increases Rand Water allocation amid water restrictions


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DWS increases Rand Water allocation amid water restrictions

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Photo by Creamer Media

17th October 2022

By: Natasha Odendaal
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is temporarily increasing Rand Water’s bulk water allocation as an emergency measure to address water shortages in South Africa’s economic hub.

Rand Water abstracts 4 400 megalitres of water and has already exceeded this allocation by over 1 600 megalitres since the start of the spring season to meet the rising use and demand across the Gauteng metropolitans, district and local municipalities.


Owing to this, Rand Water last week imposed a water supply reduction of 30% to safeguard the integrity of the system and to ensure continued water supply, further applying the flow control management of its reservoirs to stabilise and avoid the emptying of the reservoirs and a complete system crash.

“We note the increase in water use and restrictions imposed by Rand Water in response to deteriorating water levels in their reservoirs, therefore we will increase temporarily the allocation for abstraction of bulk water to Rand Water’s system in order to meet the demand,” says Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu.


This had followed an emergency meeting on Monday where the DWS engaged with Rand Water, representatives of the three metropolitans, and district and local municipalities affected by Rand Water’s water restrictions.

“This should bring relief to some metropolitans, namely Johannesburg, Tshwane and Mogale City district municipality, however the measure is for a period of 9 months while we seek more permanent solutions to water use and management,” he points out.

However, municipalities need to come up with measures to deal with those wasting water, including imposing penalties and addressing the challenge of water leaks on municipal reticulation systems.

“As a country we are experiencing the scarcity of water, yet we allow for up to 40% of our water to be lost to leaks. This undermines our efforts to address water challenges.”

A Water Room committee, comprising DWS, Rand Water and all Gauteng municipalities as well as the business sector, will be set up to provide holistic coordination, provision and management of the water system in the province.

Water use has increased over the past few weeks owing to a continued heatwave and delayed summer rains in the inland provinces, which has resulted in potable water being used for watering gardens and car wash enterprises, which typically would have been taken care of by rains, as well as water losses owing to leaks in the reticulation part of the system.

“There continues to be overuse in the province which puts a strain on the system that led to Rand Water having to inform their customers of the need to restrict. This does not imply that there is a crisis of water availability but is rather a means to manage the system through reduction and therefore bringing balance to the system,” Mchunu concludes.


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