Coronationville and Westbury resident fetching water from a tank in the street next to their homes. The suburbs have no water in the homes. 230914 Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Johannesburg - Two years ago, there were warnings that South Africa, particularly Gauteng, would soon be facing water crises.

Referring to infrastructure that needed significant upgrading, then minister of environmental affairs Edna Molewa said: “If we don’t act, we will face a near-crisis situation in the future.”

In Gauteng, where water mainly has to be piped in from elsewhere, this infrastructure is particularly important.

Around a quarter of the province’s water comes from Lesotho, from which giant pipes bring water into the Vaal River, from where it is distributed to taps.

However, Molewa warned that, as all the water had already been allocated, the country would be in trouble until 2020 when the next phase of the Lesotho scheme came online with 151 million extra kilolitres of water.

At the South African Water and Energy Forum in 2011, Professor Mike Muller warned that a crisis was looming, and eThekwini, Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Joburg would be the first to be hit by shortages.

These would be caused largely by water demand outstripping supply and, to a lesser extent, poor water quality as municipal structures deteriorated, Muller said. – Angelique Serrao (The Star)