Some schools had to shut down, residents had to make alternative arrangements to get water while hospitals had to be supplied by water tanks when Gauteng experienced an erratic water supply that left pumps dry. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency/ANA
Some schools had to shut down, residents had to make alternative arrangements to get water while hospitals had to be supplied by water tanks when Gauteng experienced an erratic water supply that left pumps dry. File Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency/ANA

Rand Water explains events that led to power failure that affected water supply in many parts of Gauteng

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Jun 2, 2021

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Johannesburg - Rand Power has detailed the events that led to a power failure that resulted in many parts of Gauteng, including, hospitals, residential areas and schools, being without water for days.

Some schools had to shut down, residents had to make alternative arrangements to get water while hospitals had to be supplied by water tanks when Gauteng experienced an erratic water supply that left pumps dry.

Rand Water and Joburg Water said in a joint statement that everything started when the former undertook a pre-isolation shutdown at Eikenhof pumping station on May 18 to prepare for the replacement of the G34/Q2 isolation valve.

During the pre-isolation shutdown, a power failure was experienced at the Vereeniging Water Treatment Plant which affected supply to the Hursthill system.

The Hursthill system battled to recover to acceptable reservoir levels after the shutdown and restoration. In addition, the system supplies high-lying areas that have historically been vulnerable to fluctuating bulk water supply during high-demand seasons.

"Over the past years, the bulk supply system has also been under severe pressure due to the increased water demand.

“Rand Water had, from time to time, made operational adjustments to divert water from other areas as a short-term measure to help sustain the Hursthill system after bulk supply interruption. However, this has yielded no significant results of late.

“In the past weeks, both Rand Water and Johannesburg Water’s technical teams have been on the ground investigating with a view of finding other options to optimise the integrated supply systems. This joint effort resulted in adjustments being made to the distribution system but, unfortunately, before any gains could be realised, the Eikenhof pump station experienced power failures which further affected the system. Electricity supply has since been restored.”

Both Rand and Joburg Water said they were looking at short- to medium-term interventions to address the challenges.

They said that while Rand Water was finalising the construction of Station 5A, Joburg Water was finalising the designs of their booster station to the Hursthill Reservoir.

“Once these projects are completed, there will be enough supply to the high-lying areas of Hursthill.

“The entities remain committed to resolving these challenges. It is in this context that both institutions are currently supplying water using water tankers to the most affected, especially health facilities in the area, such as Rahima Moosa and Helen Joseph Hospitals.”

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