Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, says there is no water crisis in South Africa, but calls on people to use water sparingly.
Johannesburg, eThekwini, and Gqeberha are experiencing water supply restrictions.Rand Water scheduled a reduced water supply from Monday to Wednesday. Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu says there is a far greater demand for water than the government can supply. Minister of Water and Sanitation, Senzo Mchunu, says there is no water crisis in South Africa.
Mchunu was speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria on the scheduled Rand Water maintenance that will see reduced water supply in various parts of Gauteng from Monday until Wednesday.
Rand Water announced last week that it had notified affected municipalities of the planned maintenance of the B11 and B19 pipelines.
The minister has stressed that there was no complete shutdown of water, but rather a reduced supply.
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“On average, we are not in any crisis of water but I know that there are areas in the country that are either getting less than the required supply but in some cases, no water at all.
“And as far as those areas are concerned, we may talk about a crisis in those areas where there is no water at the moment. But we need to avoid the exaggeration to say the whole country is going through a crisis,” Mchunu said.
Mchunu called for people to be patient and bear with the maintenance Rand Water is doing to its pipelines in Gauteng.
The minister said the department will keep a close watch on the repair time frames and levels of cleanliness of water once it is back on full supply after restoration.
We do need to say overall [that] as the people of South Africa, we need to get to [the] understanding that we do not have as much water as we need. The demand for water in the country and in all provinces, districts and metros and locals, is higher than what we have available.
That, however, does not mean the country is in a crisis, Mchunu said.
He said people need to use less water and be considerate when using it; take quick showers, and use less water in the sink when brushing their teeth.
Mchunu said apart from the planned maintenance by Rand Water in Gauteng, eThekwini in KwaZulu-Natal, and Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape were also experiencing water shortages.
Mchunu said water issues in the municipality were because of a shaft pump failure at the Durban Heights Water Works.
The failure has affected numerous reservoirs in Phoenix, Umlazi, Durban North, Mountain View, and Verulam.
The repairs in the area were expected to take place over about five weeks.
Mchunu stressed that affected areas in eThekwini and other parts of the country were having reduced water supply and not a complete shutdown.
He added that any homes experiencing a complete shutdown should contact the relevant authorities.
“As soon as the problem is known, and has been ascertained, we will start working on them and they [water board] have our full support. It will be done within the shortest possible time.”
Gqeberha currently has water restrictions that are far less than usual, Mchunu said.
He appealed to residents of the city to be patient while the department works to ensure that day zero, which is threatened to arrive in December, is avoided.
Decreased dam levels in the city were a concern as demand for water was getting greater.
Mchunu said western parts in the city were mostly affected.
He said water tanks would be delivered in affected areas while the work Nooitgedacht water pipe expected to supply water from the Orange River to Gqeberha is fast tracked.
Mchunu said phase one of the work was complete and the project would ensure that the entire city of Gqeberha gets a clean supply of water without disruptions.
“Even at that time [when water is not restricted in Gqeberha], we will have to make a humble request to people and a very strong request that there is not enough water meeting our demand, even in that city, and therefore we want to appeal to them to bear with us and use water cautiously because water will be restricted throughout the future. Even in future, there is going to be reasonable restriction of water there,” the minister said.
Water tanks will also be made available in the city.