The City of Johannesburg Executive Mayor, Thapelo Amad, has reassured Johannesburg residents that the City's water is safe for consumption.
Image source: Steve Johnson from Pexels
This comes after reports appeared on social media that a resident noticed blue water when opening the tap a few days ago.
Amad said following the reports, Joburg Water launched an investigation to establish the source of this problem, and took a sample on 1 February 2023 at Sontonga Lofts in Braamfontein.
“At the time of taking the samples, the water was clear and not blue. The complainant later confirmed on social media that the blue water was only at their unit, which was caused by an internal plumbing issue.
“The internal issues were resolved by a private plumber. Johannesburg Water is in the process of contacting the customer, as well as the plumber to understand what the issue was that caused the incident,” Amad said.
Water supply challenges
Amad said the City of Johannesburg has been experiencing water supply challenges since the beginning of the year, when Rand Water total reservoir storage level on 8 January 2023 was at 76%.
The reservoir storage level started to significantly decline from 9 January 2023, and the situation was exacerbated by power supply failures that affected the Zuikerbosch purification plant and Eikenhof pump station on 13 January 2023.
The Mayor said this significantly affected the Crosby, Brixton and Hurst Hill Reservoir 1 and 2 supply zones, which cover wards 58, 69, 86 and 87 in the City of Johannesburg.
“On 13 January 2023, there were power failures that affected the Rand Water Zuikerbosch purification plant, which lasted for six hours. This resulted in the plant only operating at 60% capacity during that time.
“On the same day, the Rand Water Eikenhof pump station was affected by a power failure of three hours. These events affected the Johannesburg Water Commando system, which supplies the Crosby, Brixton and Hurst Hill 1 and 2 reservoirs. The high-lying areas of Hurst Hill 2 were severely affected and Melville, Parktown and Auckland Park experienced intermittent water supply.
“On 16 January 2023, Johannesburg Water and Rand Water issued media statements on these power failures and high-water demand experienced due to high temperatures and appealed to all consumers to reduce water consumption. These events, with higher-than-normal temperatures, resulted in Rand Water storage capacity dropping to 30% and some of their reservoirs supplying municipalities dropping to below 15%,” Amad explained.
In the City of Johannesburg, Rand Water's Waterval 2 Reservoir was below 15% and affected water supply in the Commando system. On 29 January 2023, Rand Water experienced another power failure at their Eikenhof pump station from 4.30am.
“Full power was only restored 22 hours later at 2am on 30 January 2023. This incident then caused the Rand Water Waterval and Meredale Reservoirs that supply the City of Johannesburg’s western and southern areas - Randburg and Roodepoort - to drop to zero storage capacity,” Amad said.
During this period, Johannesburg Water provided residents with water through mobile water tankers and stationary tanks at various strategic areas.
“There were 21 roaming mobile tankers in the affected areas, with a further 18 stationary tanks placed at strategic points in the affected areas. Part of the entity’s interventions included pumping water into the Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa Mother and Child hospitals' tanks from afternoon, 30 January 2023, as and when required to sustain their supply,” Amad said.
The Mayor urged customers to reduce water consumption, as this directly impacts the recovery of the affected systems.
“Customers are also requested to report major bursts and leaks to assist with sustaining critical systems. Residents are reminded that stage 1 water restrictions must be adhered to.”
Amad announced that the City, through Joburg Water, has invested just over R400 million, which will be used over the next 18 months to build and upgrade bulk water infrastructure, especially along the Commando system (Crosby and Brixton), which is always the hardest hit by water shortages.