Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The department of water and sanitation has called on water consumers in Gauteng to significantly cut back on their water usage due to a planned shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project tunnel system.

The system is being shut down for inspection and maintenance, and that will go on for two months — the whole of October and November.

“No water transfers to the Vaal river system will be possible over this period as the tunnel will be drained for these inspections and maintenance work to be done‚” the department said.

The Lesotho system augments the water resources in the Vaal river system that provides water to Rand Water‚ Sasol‚ Eskom and many smaller users.

“During the inspection and maintenance work‚ water consumers and especially the farming community will be affected. This therefore necessitates that water users heed the call to use water with the utmost sensitivity to the limited water supply.”

No water may be taken from the Liebenbergsvlei River for any agricultural purposes between 6am on a Saturday and 6am on the following Monday‚ said the department.

“Water users in Gauteng are therefore requested to work co-operatively with the department by ensuring that they use water sparingly and with the greatest care. This is important so as to guarantee that as the work continues‚ water users are not left in need.

“The department would like to assure Gauteng residents that contingency measures have been put in place to ensure that water supply continues uninterrupted during this period.”

A week ago‚ the department confirmed that Katse Dam was at an alarmingly low level due to the ongoing drought. The dam's level was at 16.9%‚ with the department commenting that it was heading for “serious times”.