Pretoria - City residents have been urged to use water sparingly as Rand Water and the City of Tshwane worry about possible shortages due to load shedding and high temperatures.
While the nation has been frustrated by the impact of load shedding on their livelihoods, the City foresees shortages caused by lack of power at its water treatment plants.
Rising temperatures have also caused a serious concern for bulk water supplier Rand Water, Tshwane’s main supplier, issuing a warning to residents to use water sparingly as it worries about possible shortages.
Activists and political parties, like the DA, have also called on residents not to be oblivious to factors that may affect water supply and result in shortages at a time when the demand is higher due to hotter temperatures.
Utility Services and Regional Operations MMC Daryl Johnston said stage 6 load shedding presented multiple challenges – key among them was the possibility of water outages, particularly in high-lying areas.
This was because much of the City’s water and sanitation reticulation systems rely on electricity. Water treatment works and pump stations need electricity to operate.
He said: “We have reservoirs with storage to last through short interruptions, but they rely on a continuous flow to maintain levels and be prepared for outages. That continuous flow relies on pump stations running.
“With frequent load shedding the continuous flow of water is interrupted. This means reservoirs are under significant pressure, especially high-lying reservoirs. They may slowly have their water level lowered until they threaten to run dry.”
The City has tried as best as possible to exempt its water treatment works and key pump stations from load shedding, where possible, to protect the water network and ensure water keeps flowing, but it was not possible to exempt all the water network systems that require electricity.
“Should load shedding continue, water outages may occur. This is highly likely in high-lying areas, such as Laudium and Waterkloof Ridge. We ask residents to limit water usage, as we are in a water-scarce area and already at Level 1 water restrictions.”
Rand Water said as a result of the increase in water demand due to high temperatures, water storage in its reservoirs had been rapidly declining.
This was compounded by multiple power failures to the Rand Water systems at the weekend of January 13-15. If water consumption continues to increase, Rand Water will be compelled to implement water restrictions.
DA Gauteng leader, Solly Msimanaga, said the prolonged load shedding would severely hit the province’s water reservoirs.
That was why the party was urging all residents to use water sparingly not to risk running out of water.
He said stage 6 load shedding would have a knock-on effect on pumping water to reservoirs and water towers, leaving them with low water levels and eventually affecting the sewer lines.
“There is an imminent risk that sewage will run into our water resources and overflow on the streets because of stage 6 load shedding,” he said.
Level 1 restrictions prohibit watering gardens between 6am and 6pm, hosing driveways or paved areas and washing cars with a hose pipe.