The water supply crisis in Germiston, Bedfordview, and Edenvale has become embroiled in a political debate, with the DA calling for the resignation of Rand Water’s CEO. At the same time, Rand Water asserts that political campaigns are being run on water issues in the lead-up to next year’s elections.
Residents in various Germiston areas have endured days without water, initially reported on September 19. Despite some improvement in the water supply to Ekurhuleni areas by September 23, many parts of Germiston still needed to grapple with water shortages as of September 26.
Rand Water, responsible for providing water to 18 municipalities through an extensive network, indicated that the recent water outage stemmed from severe thunderstorms on September 19, which affected the Zuikerbosch water treatment plant’s power lines and subsequently led to a plant shutdown. Efforts to restart the plant revealed faults along the overhead power lines, causing a loss of 2 billion litres of water per day. This disruption affected multiple municipalities, including Germiston, Edenvale, and Bedfordview.
Rand Water emphasised that its role is to supply water in bulk to municipalities and not to individual households, which falls under the municipalities’ jurisdiction.
In response to calls for the CEO’s resignation, Rand Water outlined its infrastructure refurbishment and augmentation plans to ensure a continuous water supply. The entity has recently completed projects such as a new concrete reservoir in Vlakfontein and an augmentation of the Zuikerbosch water treatment plant’s capacity, adding 150 million litres per day. They also have plans to add another 450 million litres per day in the next 24 months.
However, Rand Water stressed that high water consumption during the hot season is a significant challenge, and demand often exceeds supply capacity. They cited a Department of Water and Sanitation report, which indicated that non-revenue water in municipalities is at 42.4%. While municipalities have made efforts to reduce water losses, the actual water demand exceeds the projected supply capacity.
DA Gauteng leader Solly Msimanga criticised Rand Water’s preparedness for increased demand and called for the CEO’s resignation, emphasising the humanitarian crisis caused by the water shortage. Rand Water responded by urging the DA to assist in promoting water conservation and responsible consumption rather than engaging in politicking.
The water crisis in the region remains a complex issue, with infrastructure development and management challenges intersecting with political debates and the need for water conservation efforts.
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Photo: Supplied by Germiston City News