A damaged pipeline has caused a logistical nightmare for residents in Pretoria, as hundreds of thousands of locals are facing a spell with no water.
EDIT: This story on the Pretoria water crisis has been updated from its original version, which claimed the shortages would last for eight months. They will, in fact, only last for eight weeks or so.
Following a barrage of extreme weather over the past seven days, the unthinkable has happened in the east of Pretoria. A major pipeline which serves several densely populated areas of the city has been “washed away”, and according to supplier Magalies Water, there’ll be no permanent fix until February 2020.
The damage has put 300 000 people into a very precarious situation. With no running water, contingency plans have already been deployed in Pretoria. A host of JoJo tanks are being transported to those hit hardest by the pipeline catastrophe, and another “alternative solution” has got the go-ahead.
Magalies Water CEO Sandile Mkhize told SABC that construction is underway to build a temporary extraction point, acting as an artificial replacement for the destroyed infrastructure. However, with a two-month rebuilding job on the horizon, residents will still face long periods of water shortages.
“We have conceptualised an alternative solution where we are going to build a temporary structure across the dam, which will be our temporary abstraction point. We will then bring in abstraction pumps, and then transport the power line from the current pump station across the river, sowe would be able to run the pump station.”Sandile Mkhize
1/2 More than 300-000 people in the far east of Pretoria will be without water for the next 8 months. #sabcnews— SAfm news (@SAfmnews) December 16, 2019
The mood was already tense in this part of Pretoria, after rolling blackouts outside of the load shedding schedule were reported this weekend. Without warning, residents of Cullinan saw the power go out on Sunday. Meanwhile, locals in Garsfontein are on their eight day without power, and they are understandably fed-up:
Some angry residents of Garsfontein east of Pretoria have blockaded the Pretorius Park electricity depot demanding power. They have been without power for over a week. @CityTshwane @AbelTau1 pic.twitter.com/IVWytcnXlh— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) December 16, 2019