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Joburg residents furious over extended water shortage

Johannesburg residents who have been without water for longer than expected have aired their frustration on social media.

Johannesburg Water’s social media team has been feeling the wrath of angry residents, who are frustrated that the updates from the water utility on planned maintenance are “useless” to them.l

Mpho Metsi* told City Press said that he had been without water for three days. “We haven’t had water since Wednesday morning around 9am in Melville.

Twitter user Susan Reynard said: “This makes me very sad. After a week of trying to manage relentless loadshedding, very hot days and no water supply, those of us in Joburg south still have no water and no estimation of when we can expect water supply – it’s disheartening to say the least. Hard to feel positive.”

Metsi said: “When we ask questions on their [Johannesburg Water] Twitter account, they keep on ignoring us but [have] got time to update their Twitter page. They haven’t even provided us with an ETA (expected time of arrival) as to when can we expect water in our hood. I even called them this morning on their help desk, spoke to a consultant. She just responded with, ‘We don’t know when the water will be back, to be honest’.”

This week Rand Water, Johannesburg’s bulk water supplier, undertook planned maintenance on its system, which saw disruptions to the city’s water supply.

On Monday, Rand Water chairperson Faith Matshidiso Hashatse said that the 54-hour maintenance was part of its capital renewable programme.

“Most of the time when we are busy with the programme you don’t even feel it,” she said.

She explained that this week’s maintenance programme was extensive, hence the disruption to the water supply.

Rand Water had assured customers that the maintenance would not result in people being without water.

In a statement released ahead of the maintenance, it said, “during this period, water will be flowing into the system although this will be in reduced quantities and pressure”.

Metsi said: “Last week they did mention that there will be water cuts and they even said, ‘do not store water because this is not a crisis, use water wisely.’ We didn’t prepare anything because that is what the minister said. Metsi said:My house smells like s***t. They keep on updating their pages ‘please use water sparingly’. Which water are they referring to? This is ridiculously bizarre.

Work on the system was concluded on Wednesday as planned.

Metsi said that is when he started to experience water outages.

Rand Water said that the work it did on the system resulted in reservoirs running low. Rand Water said: Several of Rand Water’s reservoirs are currently very low due to the recently completed maintenance programme and will take time to recover to full capacity.

Rand Water met with Johannesburg Water to ascertain the extent of the current water outages affecting parts of the City of Johannesburg,” Rand Water said in a statement on Friday.

“Johannesburg Water is providing alternate supply to affected areas where feasible. We urge customers to reduce consumption as the systems gain capacity and recover.”

Metsi said he still has no idea when the water supply would be fully restored.

Rohit Lalloo tweeted the same sentiments: “Please stop ignoring paying clients, we respectfully requesting for an update as to an ETA of water for Florida Glen and surroundings”.

City Press’ efforts to get an estimated restoration time from Johannesburg Water and Rand Water’s spokespeople were unsuccessful at the time of going to print.

*not his real name

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