Beforehand struggling without electricity for hours a day, many South Africans are now having to do also without water, as power outages blitz the supply system.
A power failure at a pump station feeding inventories and water edifices caused taps to run dry in region of Johannesburg and Pretoria, provincial mileage Rand Water said this week.
This further complicated occupants who for months have had to plan mundane activities similar as cooking and do laundry based on a day-to-day blackout schedule.
Thomas Mabasa, a rail worker, said he’d taken to showering at work– a luxury not afforded to his children.
They have to go to academy without bathing,” the 43- year-old told AFLM.
He was among frustrated locals who took to the expressways in Soshanguve, a township north of the capital, this week to protest the situation.
Demonstrators disintegrated traffic, blocking roads with stones and waste.
Now and then we stay to see if the water will come back in the middle of the night to wake the children up so they can shower before it runs out again,”Mabasa said, as tyres burned on the road behind him.
Theft and vandalization
Africa’s most industrialised economy has been crippled by record power cuts in the once year, as troubles at debt-laden state energy company Eskom worsened.
The mileage provides about 90% of the country’s electricity.
But for years it has failed to keep pace with demand as it struggles to maintain its geriatric coal-powered infrastructure.
Water and sanitation ministry spokesperson, Wisane Mavasa said the government was working with water utilities” to enhance the situation”.
The energy crisis is impacting the water infrastructure,” she said.
One problem is that machinery is constantly being renewed because of power cuts, and this accelerates breakdowns, the government said.
Pump stations and water-treatment, which need a steady flow of power to work properly, have been poorly impacted, it said.
Lawlessness has also contributed to the crisis, with Johannesburg’s cosmopolis saying hundreds of water tanks were stolen or vandalised in 2022.
Hospitals and schools haven’t been spared.
Kalafong medical center in Pretoria, endured two days of no water at the weekend.
Journalism pupil Ethel Malatji, 21, said her and colleagues at the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria were unfit to cook, clean or bathe. ”
We do not even have water to drink,” she said. Her studies have also been disrupted by protesters burning tyres on a road she crosses to enter part of the campus, she said.
The problems have especially hit Johannesburg’s Gauteng province, but not exclusively.
Cape Town has had to close some of its beachfronts due to a sewage spill following electrical faults at some of its sewer stations.
Adding demand has also put a strain on supply in the country’s southeast forcing authorities to apply water rationing.
That might come more common if energy and infrastructure problems aren’t addressed, said Dewald van Niekerk, who heads the African Centre for Disaster Studies at North- West University. ”
Electricity needs to drive those pumps,”said van Niekerk.
South Africa-an formerly water-scarce country-is set to witness extreme drought conditions in the coming many years with the expected return of the El Nino warm weather pattern, he alerted.