Independent Online

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Like us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterView weather by locationView market indicators

Rand Water cuts supply as drought bites

A boy fills his cup from a water tanker in Coronation, Johannesburg. South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades. Picture: Kim Ludbrook

A boy fills his cup from a water tanker in Coronation, Johannesburg. South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in decades. Picture: Kim Ludbrook

Published Oct 5, 2016

Share

Johannesburg - South Africa’s biggest water utility, which helps service 13 million people in areas including Johannesburg and Pretoria, will cut supply by 15 percent as the country grapples with the worst drought on record.

Rand Water will pump about 3 900 kilolitres a day to municipalities, which in turn distribute to consumers, instead of the usual 4 500 kilolitres, chairwoman Matshidiso Hashatse told reporters in Johannesburg on Tuesday. Customers must reduce usage or face cuts, she said.

Story continues below Advertisement

South Africa’s rainfall last year was the lowest since records began more than a century ago, partly due to the El Nino weather pattern. The drought caused widespread damage to crops and livestock, with rural communities particularly affected. Dry conditions have persisted this year with below-normal rainfall and higher-than-average temperatures.

A request for consumers in Gauteng, the most populous province that includes Johannesburg and Pretoria, to cut consumption by 15 percent has gone unheeded with a less than 3 percent reduction, Minister for Water and Sanitation Nomvula Mokonyane said. The Vaal River System of 14 dams supplying the province is currently only 52 percent full. The Vaal Dam is at about 30 percent capacity and expected to drop to 25 percent by mid-November, she said.

“A continued ignorance of the need to reduce water use will inevitably lead to a collapse in the entire Vaal River System which will have dire social and economic consequences,” Mokonyane said. “We are at the point of no return.”

Story continues below Advertisement

When capacity at the Vaal Dam falls to 25 percent, Rand Water will have to use supplies from other reserve dams such as Sterkfontein, said Trevor Balzer, a deputy director-general of strategic projects at the Department of Water and Sanitation. Further water restrictions may still be introduced, he said.

Above-average rainfall forecast for November, December and January may provide some relief, Balzer said.

BLOOMBERG

Story continues below Advertisement

Related Topics:

Share