Load shedding is now causing water cuts in Johannesburg

Residents of Johannesburg have been told to prepare for a double-whammy of cuts the next time the lights go out: Load shedding is now having a direct impact on the water supply in Gauteng, according to local suppliers.

Johannesburg Water issued a statement on Monday afternoon, confirming that Stage 4 load shedding is playing havoc with the reticulation system. The organisation explained that their pumps – which transport water from the dams to the municipal supply towers – run on electricity, and they’ve been severely hampered over the past few days.

Load shedding schedule for Johannesburg now comes with a water warning

Locals have lodged numerous complaints about their taps running dry, and the blame seems to lie at Eskom’s front door. South Africans could just about manage with hours of no power each day, but to lose their water at the same time is criminal. Johannesburg Water officials also shared some advice for how to prepare for these multiple sheddings:

“Johannesburg Water would like to advise [local] residents to check load shedding schedules for their respective areas on the Eskom and City Power websites, as water supply does get affected by power outages.”

“Residents are urged to make arrangements which ensure they have enough water to last the duration of the outage when they’re affected by load shedding. Joburg Water unfortunately does not have enough water tankers to provide an alternative supply, due to the sheer scale of areas affected.”Johannesburg water

Could this happen in cities like Cape Town?

If water shedding is a possibility in Johannesburg, other cities and provinces relying on hydro-electric systems could also feel the strain. In Cape Town, the water supply situation is teetering on a knife-egde. A barrage of winter rains in 2018 helped the dams fight off the threat of day zero, but a bad winter could put Cape Town back to square one.

We asked officials from the Mother City if Cape Town was susceptible to the same problems Johannesburg is facing. Xanthea Limberg – a Mayco Member for the municipality – revealed that there is a risk to some pumping stations in the city, and water treatment plants are also impacted by the blackouts.

However, most of the city’s water is “gravity-fed” – meaning the natural flow of water doesn’t rely on electrical pumps. Limberg stated that the city would be addressing the full extent of this issue in a statement to be issued later on Tuesday. We will provide any updates that we receive.

by Tom Head, 2019-03-19 11:09, www.thesouthafrican.com

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