Johannesburg Water intervenes to tackle city's population growth


“We need to look at our infrastructure asset base, there’s huge migration in to Johannesburg. There’s huge demand for basic services housing and water,” Lungile Dhlamini, Managing Director of Johannesburg Water told CNBC Africa.

According to statistics South Africa, the 2011 population census recorded 4.4 million people residing in Johannesburg and the growth rate is estimated to be at 3.6 per cent .Therefore the current population is estimated at five million inhabitants.

“In post 1994 South Africa, a lot of investment was sent into serving those [non-serviced] communities,” he said.


While the focus was mainly to service the inequalities of Apartheid, Johannesburg Water has provided 98 per cent of the citizens in the city with pipe water and 94 per cent access to sanitation.

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However, problems such as pipe bursts, water leakages and the growing infrastructure are a threat to the progress made since 1994.

“We need a sustained investment for the future, to cater for growth in services,” explained Dhlamini.

Moreover, to renew old infrastructure the establishment has allocated 40 per cent of 3.4 billion rand, for the implementation of bulk waste water treatment over the next three years. The initiative will focus on upgrading treatment plants.

“The international rule is to replace two per cent of the [water pipe] network every year,” he explained.

In reference to Singapore which has the best rate of 3.5 per cent increase in renewal of their water network every year. Dhlamini described an extensive 20 year plan to achieve a two per cent increase of renewal of the water network.

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Johannesburg Water, plans to replace 143km of potable water pipes in 2014 and change 60km of sewage pipes in 2014. In order to maintain the Blue Drop standard for drinking water, new service reservoirs for water storage are being constructed.

“We need to diversify our water resource, we are looking at rain water harvesting, the retrofitting of existing and new buildings, to promote water saving devices,” said Dhlamini.