A week on, parts of Pretoria still have no water - and residents want answers

23 September 2021 - 15:13
By Ernest Mabuza
Large parts of Pretoria have been without water for more than a week. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Weerapat Kiatdumrong Large parts of Pretoria have been without water for more than a week. Stock photo.

A number of areas in Tshwane continued to have no water on Thursday.

Supply to these areas has not resumed since Rand Water attended to leaks the previous Thursday, September 16.

The city said reservoirs that supply Laudium, Atteridgeville, Kosmosdal, Mnandi and Olievenhoutbosch were critically low and in some cases empty.

The city councillor for ward 61, which includes Laudium and Erasmia, Farouk Essop, said there was no water in Laudium on Thursday afternoon.

The community has not had water since Monday.

Essop said he did not know what to tell residents about when the supply would return to normal. Neither Tshwane managers nor Rand Water had provided him with answers.

“The community out there is suffering. They are fed up,” Essop said.

The municipality on Wednesday said that due to continued inadequate water pressure from Rand Water, it was rerouting the supply of water to help high-lying areas.

On Tuesday, the city called on Rand Water to increase the supply to stabilise Tshwane's water network but the bulk water utility said it was unable to. The next day the city indicated that despite various interventions, it had not seen a significant improvement in the supply of water to some areas.

“The challenge is that there is very little pressure and flow, if any, coming into our reservoirs — to the extent that the reservoir levels are not improving.

“We have measured zero pressure at the Laudium reservoir water inlet. We need at least 130m of pressure [13 bar] to supply our Mnandi, Kosmosdal and Olievenhoutbosch systems,” said Tshwane's MMC for utility services Phillip Nel.

Nel said though Rand Water reported it was providing nine bars for the areas, city technicians had measured 7.5 bars, which was insufficient.

“The reality is that without sufficient pressure we get a significantly reduced supply, if any at all, and that is why our reservoirs are not able to recover and the communities in the affected areas are without water.”

Rand Water asked on Thursday morning that questions be sent to it about its apparent inability to increase bulk supply.

Rand Water had not answered submitted questions by Thursday afternoon. Instead, it issued a statement saying high water use and wastage had put a strain on the water system.

“Rand Water has since implemented stage 1 of water curtailments in an effort to slow the high consumption levels.”