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Johannesburg Suburbs Suffer Amid Rand Water Maintenance: Residents and Leaders Criticize Poor Communication



As Johannesburg suburbs endure water shortages during Rand Water’s extensive maintenance program, frustrations are mounting over poor communication from both Johannesburg Water and Rand Water. The maintenance, which spans from June 22 to July 29, has significantly impacted several water systems, leaving many areas dry and residents struggling.

Impact on Pump Stations and Reservoirs

The maintenance has affected key systems, starting with the Zwartkopjes and Eikenhof pump stations and the Daleside booster station. These stations experienced reduced water flow from June 24, causing widespread disruptions:

  • Zwartkopjes: Supplies the Crown Gardens reservoir and tower, and the Eagles Nest reservoir.
  • Daleside: Feeds the Orange Farm, Ennerdale, and Lawley reservoirs.
  • Eikenhof: Supplies Soweto, Randburg/Roodepoort, Commando, Lenasia, and parts of central Johannesburg, including Eagles Nest, Crown Gardens, Aeroton, and Alan Manor reservoirs. It will be affected until July 13.

On Thursday, Johannesburg Water announced the completion of work at Zwartkopjes, with power restored and pumping operations running at full capacity. However, systems like Crown Gardens and Eagles Nest are still struggling to recover. Meanwhile, Eikenhof’s capacity remains at 67%, expected to increase to 83% by Thursday evening, with full recovery anticipated by July 13.

Residents and Leaders Voice Concerns

Residents in affected areas have expressed frustration over the water shortages and inadequate communication. Michael Thompson, a board member at Frederic Place Home for the Aged in Coronationville, described the worsening situation. The home had to procure additional JoJo tanks and hire a plumber to connect them to essential pipelines due to the prolonged shortages.

“We’ve had water problems for longer than six months in Coronationville. The only difference between then and now [with the maintenance] is that there’s no water at all,” Thompson said, highlighting the severe impact on the elderly residents who cannot easily access alternative water sources.

Councillors Demand Better Communication

Local councillors have echoed these concerns, criticizing the lack of clear communication from Johannesburg Water and Rand Water. Ward 88 Councillor Nicolene Jonker reported that suburbs supplied by the Waterval tower, including Emmarentia, Northcliff, and Valeriedene, have been without water since Tuesday afternoon.


Jonker emphasized that residents were not adequately informed about the extent of the water cuts. “They kept saying they’re pumping at 50% so the anger from residents is around that. I know Rand Water is saying there will be alternative water supply in the form of trucks, but residents feel they should’ve said there will be no water for a week, for example, rather than ‘don’t panic’ or ‘store water.’”

Ward 101 Councillor Ralf Bittkau reported that Northriding, Olivedale, and Sharonlea were among the worst affected, with no water for three days. Bittkau pointed out that communication from both water entities has been severely lacking, contributing to the confusion and frustration.

Ward 99 Councillor Nicole van Dyk provided a more optimistic update, stating that work on the Waterval network had been completed and the Eikenhof pumping capacity was expected to improve. She noted that residents should start seeing gradual improvements by Saturday.

Looking Ahead: The Need for Transparency

As Johannesburg navigates this challenging period, the importance of transparent and timely communication from water authorities cannot be overstated. Residents and leaders alike are calling for better coordination and clearer updates to manage expectations and reduce the strain on affected communities.

The ongoing maintenance by Rand Water highlights the need for robust infrastructure and effective crisis management strategies. Ensuring that residents are well-informed and adequately prepared for such disruptions will be crucial in maintaining public trust and minimizing the impact on daily life.

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