water

The Randburg system needs a minimum flow rate of 35 000 kilolitres per day at the Waterval meter to remain stable. Image: Google Maps

The water storage network built to keep Randburg’s taps flowing

Johannesburg Water recently provided a behind-the-scenes look at the critical infrastructure supporting Randburg.

water

The Randburg system needs a minimum flow rate of 35 000 kilolitres per day at the Waterval meter to remain stable. Image: Google Maps

A recent media tour by the City of Johannesburg’s water utility shed light on the storage network that supplies the area of Randburg.

In light of Johannesburg’s ongoing water crisis, at the same time, the entity explained what was needed for the system to remain stable.

During the tour, Electro-mechanical Operations Manager Gugulethu Quma from Johannesburg Water (JW) detailed the efforts to maintain the Randburg system, which includes two critical reservoirs and water towers.

“We want to show residents who are utilising the water every day where it goes, how it is stored, and how it eventually gets here from the dams,” Quma told the Randburg Sun.

“All the reservoirs receive water from the bulk supply, which starts from Waterval to Rand Water to be purified and to JW for distribution to the customers.”

Where the water is stored

A focus of the tour was the Linden 1 complex that features a reservoir and a tower in the same area. Together they serve Linden and surrounds. The tower holds one megalitre, while the reservoir has a capacity of 26 megalitres.

Other key sites in the area include Kensington B, with an 11-megalitre reservoir and a 0.5-megalitre tower.

Overall, the Randburg system boasts a storage capacity of 71.30 megalitres across four reservoirs and four towers within the network that operate interdependently.

This includes the Linden 2 reservoir (25.20 megalitres), Waterval Tower (1.10 megalitres), and Quellerina Tower (0.30 megalitres).

These systems rely on water from Rand Water’s Eikenhof system through the extensive network and resources of the entity to ensure a consistent supply.

Quma explained that even if the supply is interrupted, the storage can continue providing water to residents in that zone for up to 24 hours.

“In one day, we consume an average of 35 000 megalitres and sometimes less,” Quma said. “The Randburg system has a capacity of two days’ retention to continue supplying water to the customers.”

“The reservoirs supply the average over a day or two and the towers between four to eight [days] because they are not meant to be storing, but to create pressure in the system to supply water in elevated and high-lying areas.”

So why the supply issues?

Despite having adequate storage capacity, JW faces significant challenges due to ageing infrastructure.

Quma revealed that a backlog of R22 billion in infrastructure renewal is causing frequent pipe bursts and leaks. This is being compounded by the rapid growth of the city, he noted.

“In the Randburg system, we have towers but not pump stations,” Quma added. “Hence, the infrastructure is exposed to high pressure to elevate the water for distribution.”

“If there is an outage and low or no pressure, there is air in the system. When recharging the system, the air has to escape, and that causes bursts and leaks.”