Water and Sanitation Minister, Senzo Mchunu, has committed to increasing the bulk water allocation to the Rand Water system as an emergency measure to address water shortages in the Gauteng metros, district, and local municipalities.“We note the increase in water usage and restrictions imposed by Rand Water in response to deteriorating water levels in their reservoirs, therefore we will increase temporarily the allocation for the abstraction of bulk water to Rand Water’s system in order to meet the demand. “This should bring relief to some metros, namely Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Mogale City District Municipality, however, the measure is for a period of nine (9) months while we seek more permanent solutions to water usage and management,” said Mchunu. Currently, Rand Water abstracts 4400 mega-liters of water and has already exceeded this allocation by over 1600 megalitres since the beginning of the spring season. Minister Mchunu held an emergency meeting on 17 October 2022, to engage with Rand Water, representatives of all three metros, district, and local municipalities of Gauteng Province affected by Rand Water’s water restrictions. The Minister said while the increased allocation will bring in some relief to those municipalities experiencing restrictions due to high usage and demand, municipalities need to come up with measures to deal with those wasting water including imposing penalties and addressing the challenge of water leaks on the municipal reticulation system.
“As a country, we are experiencing the scarcity of water, yet we allow for up to 40 percent of our water to be lost to leakage. This undermines our efforts to address water challenges.”A Water Room committee, comprising of DWS, Rand Water and all Gauteng municipalities, as well as business sector, will be set up to provide a holistic coordination, provision and management of water system in the province. Water use has risen in recent weeks due to the continued heatwave which has been happening in this period over the last two to three years, compounded by delayed summer rains in the inland provinces leading to people using potable water for uses that would have ordinarily been taken care of by rains, such as watering gardens and car wash enterprises, as well as water losses due to leaks in the reticulation part of the system. There continues to be overuse in the province which puts a strain on the system that led to Rand Water having to inform their customers of the need to restrict. This does not imply that there is a crisis of water availability but is rather a means to manage the system through reduction and therefore bringing balance to the system.