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Urban Farmers Adapt to Water Cuts With Storage Solutions



Urban Farmers

Severe water cuts in Johannesburg have highlighted the importance of water storage for urban farmers, who have turned to tanks to ensure the smooth operation of their crops.

Familiar with the challenges posed by frequent water cuts, urban farmers in Gauteng have resorted to using JoJo tanks for irrigation following the recent shutdown as reported by Food For Mzansi.

Since Tuesday, 11 July, taps in certain parts of the province have remained dry. Johannesburg Water has issued a notice stating that the Rand Water shutdown will conclude at 05:00 on Friday, 14 July 2023. However, the recovery process may take longer.

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This presents a significant challenge for urban food producers like Sibongile Cele, a rooftop farmer in Comptonville, south of Johannesburg.


“Thankfully, we were able to store water. We harvested water and transferred it into JoJo tanks to irrigate our plants and crops,” Cele explained.

She advised fellow farmers to do the same, emphasising the importance of water storage in JoJo tanks to conserve this precious resource. Cele expressed gratitude for recent winter rains that have bolstered their water reserves.

Water cuts have become familiar to Nomsa Mncube, a rooftop crop farmer in Alexandra. While prior notice from Johannesburg Water allowed her to prepare, Mncube expressed discontent with the frequency of the water cuts, which have become an unwelcome norm.

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“We’re doing our best to fill up water tanks, gather extra bottles, and collect as much water as possible,” Mncube shared, acknowledging the challenging circumstances. Despite the difficulties, she believes she has stored enough water to sustain her crops during another day of water cuts.


On the other hand, Zandile Kumalo, a rooftop farmer, has remained unaffected by the city’s water cuts due to her closed-loop irrigation system. This system allows for the recycling and reuse of any excess water not utilised by the plants.

“When establishing a hydroponic farm, it is crucial to have a water capacity that can sustain you for at least three days. In my case, I utilise 1000-liter storage tanks, which can provide water for four days or longer,” Kumalo explained.

Also Read: Johannesburg Water Collaborates With JMPD to Ensure Safe Water Delivery

Kumalo further revealed that utilising systems like the grow medium-bed system for cultivating baby spinach, which only requires irrigation twice a day, enables effective water preservation and extends its usability for up to a week.

As of Wednesday morning, 12 July, the following updates have been provided regarding the water cuts:


Daleside Booster Pump Station: The work in Ennerdale, Orange Farm, and Lawyley areas has been completed within the scheduled eight hours, and the water supply is normalising.

Zwartjkopjes Booster Pump Station: Reservoirs in Johannesburg South and CBD still have some capacity but are gradually decreasing. Once the work is finished, it is estimated that recovery will take five days.

Also Read: Where to Seek Assistance During Rand Water Outage in Johannesburg

Eikenhof Booster Pump Station: This system has been severely affected in the Greater Randburg and Roodepoort areas. All towers and some reservoirs are empty. Recovery for this system is expected to take up to ten days once the work is completed.

Eikenhof Booster Pump Station: The work is underway in Soweto, south of Johannesburg and Lenasia. The Soweto reservoir and towers still have capacity, but the Lenasia and South reservoirs are critically low. Recovery for this system is also projected to take up to ten days.


These updates provide valuable information on the progress of the recovery efforts, helping residents understand the current situation and anticipate the restoration of water supply in their respective areas.

Also Read:

City Ensures Continuous Water Supply During Scheduled Rand Water Maintenance

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Photo: Facebook / @Food For Mzansi

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