The drought sweeping through southern Africa is beginning to bite harder, causing the City of Johannesburg to reduce its water usage by 15% with immediate effect and to install water restrictions tariffs. This tariffs means that the more water you use above certain thresholds, the higher the tariff.
The move required by the Department of Water and Sanitation comes with a series of restrictions and punitive measures.
Why is this necessary?
The water levels in the Integrated Vaal River System have dropped below the threshold level of 60% – the Vaal Dam itself is at 35%.
The taking of water from the Integrated Vaal River System is limited by 15% on urban water use and 20% on irrigation water use.
How will it be implemented?
This will be achieved by governing the flow of water through the bulk supply meters to Johannesburg Water. It will be managed in a dynamic manner as the supply areas have different sensitivity characteristics and a straight 15% across all meters will cause outages in some areas.
Level-2 water use restrictions (which have been in place since Nov 15) will still be enforced.
The restrictions compel all consumers to
- Not to water or irrigate their gardens between 06h00 and 18h00
- Use only hand held hosepipes or buckets/watering cans are allowed outside these hours.
- Not to fill their swimming pools with municipal water
- Not to use hosepipes to wash their cars or to clean paved areas and driveways with water.
- If borehole water is being used this must be clearly advertised.
It is worth stating that over 40% of water used in Gauteng is for gardening use. If householders comply with the restrictions above the 15% reduction target will easily be achieved.
The JMPD have been requested to police compliance. Residents can report on non-compliance by phoning their 24/7 line 011 758 9650.
The Restrictions Tariffs
The restriction tariffs are imposed in a stepped manner: 10% extra on consumption between 20000 litres and 30000 litres/month; 20% on consumption between 30000 and 40000 litres/month; and 30% on consumption above 40000 litres/month.
This is illustrated in the table below:
What will happen if demand does not reduce by 15%?
If these measures are not effective in reducing demand by 15% then the Johannesburg water system will face the risk of outages. This has further knock–on effects as outages allow air into the system, which causes a hammer and an increased likelihood of bursts. So, we request residents to take this seriously.
What else can be done?
Authorities have promised to step up programmes to manage water leakages and usage.
- Active leakage detection and repair teams and water network pressure modulation which could save 29.6 billion litres per annum
- The replacement of 900km of the water reticulation pipes which have the most bursts over a four (4) year period.
- The installation of low flush water cisterns in Soweto
- Johannesburg Water encourages the use of boreholes as an alternative source of water for non-potable purposes. The Borehole Water Association of Southern Africa (BWA) indicated that they have experienced an increase of between 15% and 20% in the demand for boreholes since the campaign in February 2016.
- Responsible water usage is encouraged and where possible recycling
What is the weather prognosis?
We may well be in for a dry early spring, but there are prospects for good rains from late November/early December. Should this happen and the Vaal system is able to recover, then these restrictions will be lifted.
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