Gauteng water crisis

A couple of vitally important techniques to guard against the Gauteng water crisis and drinking dirty water. Image: AdobeStock

HOW to prevent drinking BAD water in the Gauteng water crisis

The Gauteng water crisis is worsening by the day. Here’s what residents can do to protect against bad water from major disruptions.

Gauteng water crisis

A couple of vitally important techniques to guard against the Gauteng water crisis and drinking dirty water. Image: AdobeStock

Just week’s away from the Easter holidays, and the Gauteng water crisis is worsening rapidly. The latest is that Rand Water’s supply system is ‘on the verge of collapse,’ reports Business Tech, following an emergency meeting with Rand Water, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni representatives.

According to a warning sent out by the City of Tshwane, following the hastily convened meeting this weekend, Rand Water’s bulk water supply is sitting below 30%. “This level will necessitate immediate interventions to mitigate a crisis,” said the City of Tshwane.


Gauteng water crisis
When water flow is disrupted, you can fall foul of the Gauteng water crisis if there are contaminants in the ground water. Image: File.

Rather than rectify the Gauteng water crisis, Rand Water is pointing fingers at the metros, saying they’re consuming more than the agreed-upon water rates. Forthwith, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg have announced water restrictions in the hope of slowing the demand. Each metro is urging residents and businesses to use water sparingly.

However, experts say the current Gauteng water crisis is not only due to high consumption, but rather poor maintenance of the entire water system. Gauteng has been plagued by infrastructural issues and a systemic lack of investment. And vandalism, theft and an ever-increasing demand due to urbanisation has all come together to create the perfect storm.


Gauteng water crisis
Gauteng residents are being encouraged to reduce their water consumption until the supply stabilises. Image: File

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) says that it is employing water balance analysis, pressure control and it is implementing widespread water outages. From Soweto in the south to Randpark Ridge in the north, taps are running dry. So, what can you do in the face of the worsening Gauteng water crisis?

According to Professor Craig Sheridan at the University of the Witwatersrand, in a Daily Maverick article, he says Gauteng’s water is still safe to drink. The DWS waterworks treats the water with chlorine. The chemical residual travels along the water pipes, to the reservoir and into your home, keeping the water bacteria free. When your tap water smells a little like chlorine, that’s a good thing. It means your water is safe.


water tap faucet water crisis shortage restrictions
Some Gauteng taps have run dry for days at a time already. Image credit: Pixabay/Bryan Carlson

Along with chlorine, pressure in the pipes prevents contaminants from entering the water supply. Unfortunately, if your supply has been interrupted, it may no longer be safe to drink. Professor Sheridan warns there’s a real possibility that contaminated water can enter the system.

Moreover, when the water supply returns, the ‘first flush’ down the pipe has the potential to contain contaminants. Because there is no way of knowing until you consume the water, it is sensible to protect yourself. Do not drink the water as soon as it returns.


Cholera transmitted in South Africa
Cholera is transmitted through contaminated water supply in South Africa. Image: AdobeStock

Therefore, you should protect against the Gauteng water crisis by running your taps after an outage until the water is clear. Not ideal when residents are being asked to conserve water, but it necessary. You can collect this water in a bucket for watering plants or flushing toilets, so it doesn’t entirely go to waste. If you’re still worried, boil the water before drinking. If your water remains brown or discoloured even after the ‘first flush’, report it and drink purified/bottled water if you’re able.

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What do you think of the Gauteng water crisis? Have you been impacted at all and what measure do you use to stop from drinking bad water? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates.