Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu has assured Gauteng residents that his department is keeping close tabs on Rand Water’s water-supply disruptions.
Mchunu on Monday briefed the media in Tshwane on the water utility’s 54-hour shutdown of water pipes supplying parts of Gauteng that started on Monday and is scheduled to end on Wednesday.
Rand Water announced last week it would be doing maintenance work on its raw water pipe that supplies the Vereeniging water purification plant.
Mchunu said his department was in continuous communication with Rand Water and its board on the maintenance work.
“We’re going to keep a very close watch on the repairs in terms of time and the levels of the cleanliness of the water after recovery just to make sure that the water that residents receive will be clean and there is enough supply,” Mchunu said.
The minister called for patience from residents affected by the water disruptions and apologised for any inconvenience that the public may experience.
“We want to apologise for any inconvenience that will be experienced by the people of Gauteng during this maintenance programme,” he said.
Water shutdown planned in advance
Rand Water board chairperson Tshidi Hashatse emphasised that the water-supply disruptions were planned well in advance.
She said the maintenance programme was critical for the upkeep of Rand Water’s infrastructure.
“What we are doing is to increase efficiency, the longevity of the pipeline, [and] the reliability of the infrastructure to make sure that it continues to work properly and without cause for concern,” Hashatse said.
“But most importantly we would like the citizens to understand that as Rand Water we are in the stewardship of this large infrastructure and we don’t just want to use it for today to supply water for today.
“But we want to make sure that this infrastructure continues to supply the citizens of Gauteng and beyond into the future,” she added.
Hashatse said aside from maintaining their water infrastructure, Rand Water also had to take into consideration the demand for water in Gauteng and its population growth over the years.
“The most important thing is that this is regular and planned. This is not a failure of the infrastructure and it’s something we have been planning to do for a while.”
Maintenance proceeding well
Rand Water chief executive officer (CEO) Sipho Mosai said he was confident the maintenance work would be completed successfully and on time.
“The maintenance is on time and we are on schedule. We will continuously communicate together with our municipalities should we have any delays, but so far everything is going well,” Mosai said.
Mosai stressed that the water shutdown did not mean that residents would have no access to water during this period.
“It’s not a complete shutdown, it’s a limited shutdown of a pipe that takes water into one of our purification works and indeed there are many other pipes that do exactly that,” he said.
Mosai explained the benefits of the maintenance of their infrastructure.
“We are meeting future demands by adding a new pipe, but we are also giving ourselves an opportunity to refurbish and maintain going forward.
“Our pipes are cross-connected and we’ll be able to move one pipe to the other.”