Cabinet issues assurance on Gauteng water supply

2012-09-21 11:14

A planned maintenance shutdown of the tunnels that transfer water from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) to Gauteng will not jeopardise water supply to the province, acting government spokeswoman Phumla Williams said.

The maintenance shutdown would happen next month and through November, she told reporters today in Pretoria, after Cabinet’s fortnightly meeting.

“Cabinet has noted the planned operation and maintenance shutdown of the LHWP between the months of October and November.

“The total volume of water scheduled to be transferred to the Vaal system (a total of 780 million cubic metres this year) will, however, still be transferred,” Williams said.

In the past few months, water transfers from Lesotho had been increased in anticipation of the shutdown, and there was now additional “buffer storage” in the Vaal Dam.

“The assurance of water supply to the Gauteng area will therefore not be negatively impacted upon during this planned shutdown.”

The department of water affairs was, however, discussing contingency plans with municipalities located along the Liebenbergsvlei and Caledon rivers in the Free State.

This was in case “the rivers dry up to such an extent that water supply problems are encountered”.

Williams said water users along these rivers were advised to use water sparingly over the next two months.

The department would be issuing a statement in this regard.

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