Johannesburg – Scores of Johannesburg residents are rushing to collect water ahead of the planned Rand Water maintenance shutdown tonight.
Residents were urged a few days ago to stock up on water because one of Rand Water’s major pipelines will be worked on.
The planned maintenance by the bulk utility is expected to last between 58 and 59 hours, meaning from 7pm tonight until 5am on Friday.
The utility said in the worst-case scenario, maintenance can take up to 14 days if the deadline is not met.
Affected areas include Johannesburg Central, Soweto, Southdale, Randburg, Roodepoort, Lenasia, Orange Farm and Ennerdale.
Areas not affected by the Rand Water shutdown include the Midrand and greater Sandton areas. However, a part of Sandton supplied from the Dunkeld reservoir will be affected.
Johannesburg Water said the purpose of the planned shutdown was to replace old critical infrastructure to improve infrastructure reliability and availability, reduce unplanned infrastructure breakdowns (emergency breakdowns), allow flexibility in that during maintenance water supply can be supplemented from another pump station system, thereby reducing the impact of water supply interruptions, and upgrade old critical water supply infrastructure.
“We are further requesting that customers are mindful and considerate when collecting water from tankers and that they preserve some for fellow residents coming after them,” said the utility.
Johannesburg Water said it will provide stationary tankers in critical areas like hospitals, clinics, municipal offices, schools, and police stations.
There will also be roaming water tankers across the suburbs that will be affected.
Resident Iman Moosa said he came to buy water that his family can drink and cook with; he said he already collected water to be used for the bathroom and toilet.
One of the shops selling water in Lenasia this morning said taps would go dry soon after a number of residents carrying large containers bought water.
“We are very busy; even now the water is going to be finished. I opened early and saw people coming in large numbers to fill their containers,” said one shopkeeper.
Small business owners said this water outage will negatively affect trade, saying they rely on water to put food on the table for their families.
Rashaad Subaya, a restaurant owner from the south of Johannesburg, said his staff rely on water and need to wash their hands when preparing food for the customers.
He said his customers also need water to drink and a clean environment.
Laundromat owner Mathapelo Mokoena said they need water to run their business.
“We use water a lot for washing and ironing laundry; without water, there is no business for us,” she said.