Gauteng and NW Province

Water restrictions in NW to help tackle drought

Published on: October 4, 2013

Drastic steps have been taken by the Department of Water Affairs to avert the looming water crisis in the North West province.

This comes after Premier Thandi Modise declared the drought-stricken province as a disaster area this week.

 This has prompted Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa to rope in departmental officials, Rand Water and Magalies Water (the two water boards serving the province) to try to stop the situation from deteriorating further.

The water shortage in the province has led the Rustenburg local municipality to restrict water usage in certain areas, including the CBD.

The municipality announced this week that they will allow the Rand Water board to phase in a restricted water supply plan to its local mines to ensure an equitable supply to parts of the municipality, which have recently experienced water shortages.

This will include prohibiting the watering of gardens and filling of swimming pools at this stage.

The municipality’s Chief Operating Officer, Victor Makhona, said the restrictions would also address those areas experiencing water shortages.

He said they have also detected a high number of water leakages and have already appointed an engineering company to repair the leaks.

Makhona attributed the shortage to years of sustained economic growth, which transformed the former medium-sized mining town into a dynamic, mid-sized metropolis, with a water supply that is at times not adequate to meet demand during warm periods.

Other towns, according to the ministry, will put in place their water restrictions measures in due course.

According to the Department of Water Affairs, an additional 40 megalitres of water would be required to address growth in the northern areas of the municipality.

“The local water board, Magalies Water, is implementing the Pilanesberg Scheme to increase the bulk water supply from the Vaalkop Dam to various areas in Rustenburg and Moses Kotane local municipalities in the future.

“The second phase of the scheme will supply additional water to the municipality, together with the upgrade of the Bospoort Water Scheme that is owned and managed by the municipality,” the ministry said.

The Rustenburg municipality has put in place several short- and medium-term measures to address the situation.

For the short-term, the municipality is investigating the option of supplying treated effluent water for industrial usage, and the implementation of Water Demand Management (WDM) initiatives to improve the municipality’s reservoir inlet and outlet controls.

Rand Water will install data loggers at major supply points in order to monitor flows and patterns in real time. It will also engage all key stakeholders to agree on voluntary restriction of water usage.

Proposed medium-term solutions include the installation of a pipeline from the outlet of the 100 Ml Rustenburg South reservoir to the main municipal reservoirs, as well as identifying areas of high water loss.

The department has cautioned that climate change conditions may have an impact on the arrival of seasonal rains throughout the city. –

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