Rustenburg – Reports have started flooding in from different spheres of Rustenburg that we are about to experience a terrible water shortage. Since the beginning of this week the Platinum Weekly has been inundated with complaints from annoyed residents concerning the lack of reliable water supplies. Folks are complaining because they fear that they will soon be left without any drinking water. Some have been experiencing water shortages for weeks on end with very short intervals of running water supply. According to a reliable source, the higher laying areas will be the worst hit and will be the ones who carry the brunt of the water shortage. The official reason for the sporadic water scarceness is simply that the Rand Water Reservoir is empty. Which begs a few new questions in turn, the simplest one being; “Who was responsible for ensuring that it doesn’t “Go Empty”? Is there a particular reason why they can’t just refill it; like broken pumps or unpaid bills? On Tuesday morning at 11:17 the Rustenburg Local Municipality (RLM) posted a short notice on their website, (http://www.rustenburg.gov.za/node/471) in which they stated that they were aware of the water shortage and went on to explain that the blame lay elsewhere. The statement reads: “…We are receiving [reports] from Rand Water that their reservoir is empty at the moment, and this has a direct implication on us as the Municipality.” The statement carries on assuring residents that they (the municipality) will use water tankers to provide water to the affected areas while this crisis continues. The Executive Mayor, Cllr Mpho Khunou, wishes to apologise to all residents and business for this inconvenience. For further information please contact Wanda Simelane at 014 590 3521 or Complaints Centre at 014 590 3090. In the meantime, reports indicate that the Barnardsvlei reservoir was at 0.3 meters in reserve on Tuesday. Water has been diverted to Cashan Extension 4, to be able to pump Tierkloof Reservoir (Tuesday at 50%). The situation has also compelled the RLM to close the outlet of the Boschdal Reservoir – 0% at Tuesday. It seems that Rustenburg just landed itself with a water problem… without any warning it just happened. The structure for maintenance and control systems is vague… But the question remains – who is to blame? Did this problem surface due to issues revolving around the pipelines and/or reservoirs? If so, why has no notices been given to the affected communities in advance so that preventative and precautionary steps be followed? Is the fixing of this problem “in the pipeline”? It seems that the water shortage cannot be related to the levels of the Vaaldam, as reports indicated that the Vaal Dam stood on 67.5% full on Monday. And if the dams were alarming empty (due to low water levels = rainfall etc), wouldn’t it have made national headlines by now? The three role players for this hazardous dilemma are Magalies Water, the Rand Water, and the Rustenburg Local Municipality. Neither of them has given any satisfactory reasons for the sudden state Rustenburg is drenched with. The Platinum Weekly will keep you informed. But perhaps the best question now would be, “How can we pull together to make the most of this situation?” The answer might be as simple as to impose water restrictions on oneself… hold off on refilling your pool for while… if you see water being wasted report it, take a picture of anyone who you suspect might be steeling water from the system, (we’ve all seen the construction companies tap into the fire hydrant system on several street corners) and report them. Simply put: treat the little remaining water that’s left in the Rustenburg water system as if it is our most precious commodity.
As usual a crisis is needed before action takes place. Water IS the most precious commodity, but very little attention is given to it. Why wait? It is the rainy season. Harvest your own rainwater, get off the grid. Store that harvested water in water tanks. Then you don’t have to be dependent on the municipality for your water and you help conserving water which is our responsibility as human beings. Recycle your grey water for irrigation, it saves water and money.