Torrential rains lead to breakdown of water supply system in some areas of Gauteng

Flooding in Eerste Fabriek informal settlement in Mamelodi, Tshwane. (Alex Mitchley, News24)
Flooding in Eerste Fabriek informal settlement in Mamelodi, Tshwane. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Recent torrential rains in many parts of Gauteng have led to the breakdown of the water supply system in Cullinan and neighbouring areas.

On Tuesday, the raw water supply pipeline to the Cullinan Water Treatment Plant (WTP) was extensively damaged by flash floods in the City of Tshwane, leading to water interruptions in some areas east of Pretoria.

The City said the bulk pipeline in question was administered by Magalies Water for operations and maintenance, which in turn abstracted water from the Wilge Dam to relay to Cullinan WTP for suitability and purification, before it was delivered to customers.

Acting Mayor Abel Tau said the pipeline had been washed away, together with the concrete support structure and valves.

"While Magalies Water was taking stock of the network infrastructure on Thursday, following the deluge - the pipeline was discovered to be dysfunctional and completely damaged. The damage to the part of the Cullinan water infrastructure is a temporary setback in the City's vision of providing water constantly to the residents and its broader customer base," said Tau.

Areas left dry include Cullinan, Rayton, Refilwe, Petra Diamond Mine and Zonderwater Prison. 

The City said it had been informed by Petra Diamond Mine, who own the pipeline, that the reconstruction efforts aimed at reviving the damaged water network would take about eight months.

In the meantime, an urgent stakeholder cooperation, comprising the Magalies Water, City of Tshwane, Rand Water (RW), Petra Diamond Mine company, Gauteng Province and National Department of Water and Sanitation had been activated to ensure adequate water provision to the affected communities, institutions and businesses. 

"In mitigation of this unplanned impending water interruption, the City is conscious of the fact that the water in WTP and reservoirs will dry up as soon as possible. We have therefore arranged water tankers that will be deployed as an immediate interim solution.

"Other options of either connecting to the RW bulk water pipeline that is supplying water to Thembisile Hani Local Municipality or installing a pump on the other side of the dam are being explored," Tau said.

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