Water utility Rand Water has implemented flow control measures in Gauteng, after residents failed to heed the call to use water sparingly, putting water availability at risk.
The flow restrictions were put into effect on Friday night and will remain in place until the system recovers. As a result, consumers in the province can expect intermittent water supply.
Major metros in the province have been hit by stage 2 water restrictions after a heat wave and load shedding caused several issues. One of the biggest problems was increased water consumption by residents.
Rand Water said that it serves around 17 million water users in the province, but the average consumption among these users is over 300 litres a day compared to the global average of around 170 litres.
“To safeguard the integrity of the system and to ensure continued water supply, Rand Water imposed a water supply reduction of 30% so that there is still enough water in the reservoirs to mitigate, amongst others, intermittent supply,” the group said.
“To stabilise and avoid the emptying of the reservoirs and a complete system crash, Rand Water will further apply the flow control management of its reservoirs.”
This measure gives Rand Water full control of water supply and no longer relies on consumers to reduce consumption.
The new restrictions will impact all municipalities, including:
- City of Johannesburg
- City of Ekurhuleni
- City of Tshwane
- Rand West Local Municipality
- Mogale City Local Municipality
- Rustenburg Local Municipality
To avoid the intermittent water supply, consumers need to reduce consumption, the group said.
“We recommend that municipalities impose water restrictions through their by-laws and effectively police their implementations,” it said.
It further recommended a ban on:
- Sprinkler systems
- Watering of lawns
- Use of hosepipes to wash cars or clean pavements
These recommendations are in-line with stage 2 water restrictions in the areas affected.
Rand Water spokesperson Makenosi Maroo previously said that if public consumption of water does not ease up and reservoirs are unable to fill up quickly enough, affected regions will have to move up to higher stages of restrictions.
“We will have to move up to different stages to ensure we manage the situation,” she said, adding that any changes to the water situation will come with advance warning.
“There is a plan; we always communicate with our clients – the municipalities in this case. We warn them in advance – we warned them about a month ago to say we are monitoring our reservoirs.”
For Rand Water, water restriction levels affect the overall supply of water to municipalities from its reservoirs. This is a 20% cut at level 1, 30% at level 2, etc.
However, she assured that there will not be a ‘complete switch-off’ of water supply, noting that the reservoirs cannot function this way.
“It would take us forever to refill the reservoir – we will not run completely empty,” she said.
Municipalities have varying restrictions in play during different stages. According to ward councillors in Joburg, the following restrictions apply at various stages:
- Watering of gardens is not allowed between 06h00 and 18h00 in the summer months (September 1 to March 31).
- Using garden hoses to clean hard surfaces is also not allowed.
- Sprays and sprinklers are banned.
- Handheld hosepipes can only be used between 17h00 and 19h00.
- Vehicles should be cleaned between 17h00 and 19h00, using hoses that have a trigger nozzle.
- Sprinklers and other sprays and dripper systems aren’t allowed.
- Handheld hoses can only be used for 15 minutes between 17h00 and 19h00.
- The use of grey water is advised.
- Filling of pools is allowed for 15 minutes using hosepipes.
- Outdoor irrigation of commercial and industrial spaces is banned.
- Buckets of water must be used to wash vehicles.
- No filling of swimming pools.
- Recycling is encouraged, such as the use of grey water.
- All limits of level 4 are upheld.
- The efficient and moderate use of water is encouraged.
- Non-residential households and properties must cut consumption by 45%.
- Water drawn from boreholes should not be used for outdoor purposes.
- Watering for agriculture should be reduced to 60%.
Read: Stage 2 water restrictions hit Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni – here are the areas affected