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Boreholes aren’t the answer either, say ward councillors on water crisis

Ward councillors from Johannesburg’s northern suburbs have weighed in on the water crisis in their districts.

On 1 March, Craighall and surrounding suburbs woke up to dry taps, after experiencing little to no pressure the day before.

Throughout the week, access to water was scarce, with intermittent outages only making the situation worse.

Schooling disrupted

This week, Parkhurst Primary pupils were sent home on Monday when their school taps ran dry.

The neighbouring suburb of Blairgowrie had it worse, and went without water for 10 days.

Upon investigation on 12 March, technical teams from Johannesburg Water (JW) and Rand Water found that a valve – crucial for water supply – had been closed.

This significantly impacted the flow into the water system (read more on that story here.)

Once the valve was opened, pressure on the Linden 1 and Linden 2 reservoirs was alleviated.

However, the Kensington B and Blairgowrie reservoirs remain critically low to empty, writes the Rosebank Killarney Gazette.

‘Putting plasters on rotten infrastructure’

Not surprisingly, local ward councillors have had their hands full with complaints from frustrated residents.

“[Johannesburg Water] are just putting plasters on the rotten and broken infrastructure,” said Ward 117 councillor Tim Truluck, who is responsible for Parkhurst and Parktown North

“The city has no money to fix it now. And even if they did, it will take decades.”

Joburgers are living with the constant threat of ‘water shedding.’ Much like its cousin load shedding, this means cutting off supply for extensive periods of time.

“Yes. It won’t be long now before we lose the supply of piped water. There are already over 20 bursts a month in the ward,” Truluck added.

JoJo tanks or boreholes?

Truluck urged the community to look into getting JoJo tanks, which can be filled with rainwater and relief tankers. He felt that this is a far better option than relying on a borehole.

“Boreholes are an expensive short-term fix – too many of them will lower the water table and they will dry up.”

Meanwhile, Ward 90 councillor Martin Williams said he and his constituency have had their fair share of water outages.

“[The water outages] have badly affected locals,” he said.

“Some are aware of the deteriorating situation, and make alternative arrangements where possible.”

Williams went on to say that JW officials in high office are just not dealing with the problem effectively, and warns the community to prepare for more water cuts.

“Depot managers and ops managers, and those under them, are doing their best with limited resources,” added Williams.

“There is room for improvement among those who are paid to communicate on behalf of the entity.”

“We cannot rely on any of the Joburg entities, at least until there is significant political change.”

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