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Johannesburg water outages continue  

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
13 February 2024 | 10:26 a.m. [SAST]
2 minute read

Image: Radio Islam International/ Sameera Casmod

Since the beginning of the year, not a single day has passed without water problems in Johannesburg, with reports indicating a water outage in the city every week this year. Experts warn that the situation is likely to deteriorate further while the City of Johannesburg works on maintaining infrastructure and improving the water supply.

Continuous and sporadic water outages in Johannesburg have been ongoing for the past two years due to poor maintenance of infrastructure. Water towers and reservoirs do not have the capacity to accommodate the growing demand.

The lack of access to a reliable water supply in many rural areas has extended to cities in South Africa, Executive Manager Dr Ferrial Adam at WaterCAN told Radio Islam International. She believes the situation will get worse before it gets better and highlighted the urgency of addressing the crisis in Johannesburg, which is regarded as South Africa’s economic hub.

Despite efforts by authorities such as Rand Water and Jo’burg Water to initiate plans for building new reservoirs and upgrading water supply systems, Dr Adam emphasised that meaningful progress will take time. Aging pipes and a lack of maintenance further exacerbate the problem, requiring substantial investment and skilled labour to rectify.

“This is not just a Jo’burg issue, right? We’re experiencing it across the country. The country needs ten billion Rand over ten years to secure and to actually make it a working water system,” Dr Adam explained.

Dr Adam also highlighted the importance of citizen participation in addressing the crisis, urging individuals to report leaks and take responsibility for conserving water.

“Ordinary citizens need to own up and take responsibility. I see on a daily basis people dumping rubble into stormwater drains, people flushing whatever they want into their toilets… That adds to the problem that we’re facing in terms of our very fragile infrastructure,” Dr Adam said.

While alternative solutions such as boreholes and rainwater harvesting have gained popularity, Dr Adam cautioned about their limitations and environmental impact.

Drilling a borehole is an expensive alternative which many South Africans are unable to afford. Additionally, borehole water is not always potable and must be tested in a laboratory for heavy metals.

“We are far exceeding the amount we are taking out of our groundwater thatn is being replenished. So there’s the chance that our boreholes will run dry in the next, say five to ten years,” Dr Adam warned.

Regarding rainfall patterns, Dr Adam noted the unpredictability associated with El Niño phenomena, which typically result in drier conditions and increased drought risks. Despite concerns, South Africa experienced a more favourable rainy season than expected, mitigating the immediate threat of drought.

As the water crisis persists, residents are urged to remain vigilant and proactive in water conservation efforts.

Listen to the full interview on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.

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