Residents of Johannesburg will have heard that Ekurhuleni is embarking on Level 3 water restrictions from today. The City of Tshwane is also going this route in its northern suburbs. This involves cutting off the water supply between 9 pm and 5 am. Johannesburg has taken the decision to stay on Level 2 restrictions at this stage.
The reasons are: it is much better from an engineering point of view to keep a continuous supply in the system as this minimizes bursts caused by water hammer; many businesses depend on continuous 24/7 supply; having supply available at 05h00 requires valves to be opened much earlier than that and the consequent need to then bleed the system of air as water returns – this has concomitant operational risks.
Residents will be aware that Rand Water has been required to restrict supply to Johannesburg by 15%. This has happened. The latest figures show that demand has reduced by just less than 10%. Whilst this is an improvement it is still difficult for Johannesburg Water to balance the system. We therefore appeal to residents to take the Level 2 restrictions seriously as we do not want to go to Level 3.
Over the last week there have been major outages in two of the supply areas. This is out of the 96 points of supply from Rand Water. As a City we wish to apologise to the affected residents. The reservoirs in question were Corriemore and Alexander Park. Corriemore feeds Northcliff, Fairlands, Blackheath, and Berario. Alexander Park feeds Kensington, Malvern, Cleveland, Benrose, Bruma, Bezuidenhout, and Jeppestown South.
In the case of Alexander Park the cause was excess demand causing the reservoir to run dry and difficulty in recovering the balance. Johannesburg Water have recovered supply but appeal to residents to curtail demand. At Corriemore the bulk supply from Rand Water ran dry. This caused a major challenge in restoring the reservoir.
Residents are also reminded that the need to restrict the supply has reduced pressure in the system. This means that high lying areas are more vulnerable than normal. Whilst Johannesburg Water attempts to maintain one bar pressure at the high areas, they will be the first to experience outages.
Once again, we apologise for the inconvenience experienced by some of the residents over the past week, but we are confident that Johannesburg Water and Rand Water are together overcoming the challenges attached to attaining a new system balance. We urge residents to adopt a public spirited attitude in facing these challenges.