TAPS ran dry in some 40 areas in Johannesburg this week coinciding with the launch of the ongoing National Water Week.
As Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane, was flagging off the exercise under the theme, “‘Water for People, Water by People,” in Port Elizabeth, thousands of kilometers away, scores of Johannesburg residents were reeling under the shortage of the precious liquid.
According to City Power officials, the problem emanated from Rand Water linking a new pipe to the existing infrastructure over the weekend, which meant disrupting the feed to the Yeoville reservoir. The facility carries 40 million litres per day.
An operation that was supposed to have lasted 24 hours from 06h00 on Sunday was beset by complications hence it took longer than expected and the reservoir ran dry.
Among the affected areas were Berea, Bertams, Bez Valley, Braamfontein, Bruma, Cyrildene, Doornfontein, Hillbrow, Kensington, Malvern, Observatory, Troyeville, Parktown and Yeoville.
These communities were left resembling villages as residents could be seen moving bucket in hand to secure water from neighbouring and tanks the water utility had placed in some areas.
Scuffles broke out intermittently at the few flats that had water as residents jostled in queues, particularly on Monday evening.
Similar scenes were reported at a number of tanks Joburg Water placed in key areas including hospitals and police stations.
There was pandemonium at a street corner in Yeoville as residents scrambled to collect water from a burst pipe.
“Should we die now because this is not working for anyone,” said Hillbrow resident Nomusa Ndlovu.
However, to some, the setback evoked a sense of humour. “Joburg residents will be like, ‘We don’t have water while it is raining’. I can never understand,” tweeted a resident.
Joburg Water apologised for the inconveniences. The utility said it would take longer to restore supplies to higher-lying areas.
At the time of going to print, residents confirmed supplies had been restored.