Rush on water as taps run dry

Retailers and bottled water companies were probably the only ones celebrating yesterday as Rand Water throttled the supply of water to more than 100 Johannesburg suburbs and 10 hospitals or clinics.

Mareese Joseph, a mother of three from Sundowner in Randburg, bought 40?litres of water at the Northgate Pick n Pay yesterday afternoon.

She was there just hours before Rand Water began its planned 25-hour outage, which kicked off at 2pm.

The utility said in a statement on Wednesday that this was necessary for maintenance of the Eikenhof pump station, and quickly moved to allay residents’ fear – and rage – by saying the taps wouldn’t be completely dry throughout the process.

Joseph was taking absolutely no chances, she told City Press as her son Keenan pushed the heavily laden trolley. Twenty litres was set aside for bathing and the other half for cooking, drinking and washing dishes.

“We are paying the council (City of Joburg) to provide us with water, yet they regularly leave us high and dry,” she said.

On a previous occasion, Sundowner’s taps ran dry for three days and her family spent R1?000 buying water.

Vanessa Daniels, from Weltevreden Park, bought 20 litres of water from the Makro in Strubens Valley to prepare for the cuts.

She had also filled some buckets for washing dishes, her bathtub for bathing and flushing the toilet and several two-litre bottles with tap water.

Her dog’s water bowl was filled to the brim, too.

“I don’t want Thandi to go thirsty,” the mother of three told City Press.

Marisa van Vuuren (24), who shares a townhouse with a friend in Honeydew, was upbeat about the looming cuts when City Press met her as she did a second water shop in two days at her neighbourhood Pick n Pay.

She was planning to go partying last night to dodge the water cuts in her suburb.

“We bought four five-litre bottles of water [on Friday]. I came in today to get two more.

“My neighbour told me we might be without water until [tonight].

“My housemate is out of town – but I would rather be safe than sorry.”

Van Vuuren said she would be using the water in the geyser to bath last night and this morning.

On Friday afternoon, the Dis-Chem and Pick n Pay in Victory Park sold out of five-litre bottles and, in Melville, people were spotted walking out of a popular café with large bottles of water under their arms.– Additional reporting by Yvonne Grimbeek

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