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Closed valve stopped water supply to 20 Johannesburg suburbs during 11-day outage

Johannesburg water outage closed valve

Technicians investigating an 11-day water outage affecting 20 Johannesburg suburbs discovered a closed valve that simply needed to be opened.

South Africa‘s commercial capital has been affected by planned and unplanned water outages since late 2023, but the crisis has worsened in recent weeks, exacerbated by a heatwave, dry reservoirs and increased consumption.

Johannesburg Water on Monday blamed increased demand for some residents still being without water for more than a week after problems at a pump station were triggered by a lightning strike on March 3.

But two days later the water utility said that investigations into why two reservoirs were not refilling identified the problem.

“Engagement between the [investigation] teams concluded the valve on the take-off from the pipe coming from the Meredale system should be checked,” Johnannesburg Water said in a statement.

“The valve was found in a closed position and was subsequently opened.”

The closed valve affected Soweto, Randburg, Roodepoort, and south and central Johannesburg, as well as other municipalities in Gauteng and the North West, News24 reported.

Ward councillor Nicole van Dyk said those responsible for the bungle should be punished.

“They had not opened up the valve, a massive valve, and once they did water started flowing through. Rand Water needs to be engaged on this,” she said.

“There needs to be some type of punitive measure, and there needs to be some kind of accountability.”

Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg Kabelo Gwamanda said an investigation was underway by Rand Water into why the valve has been closed off.

“Two areas, Linden and Blairgowrie, are the areas that were affected by the closed valve, and that problem has since been resolved,” he said

“There is a steady progression in the water supply as well as the levels in the reservoir. This will recover over a period of three days.”

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