South Africa: Lesotho Highlands Water Project Tunnel to Shutdown for Maintenance

20 September 2019

The Department of Water and Sanitation has called on residents in Gauteng to cut back on water usage during a planned shutdown of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) tunnel system for inspection and maintenance.

The two-month shutdown, which has been gazetted and took effect on 13 September 2019, will start from 1 October until 30 November 2019.

The LHWP augments water resources in the Vaal River System, which provides water to Rand Water, Sasol, Eskom and a large number of smaller users.

The department said that no water transfers to the Vaal River System will be possible during the inspection and maintenance period, as the tunnel will be drained for these inspections and maintenance work to be done.

"During the inspection and maintenance work, water consumers, 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.

"To this end, no water may be taken from Liebenbergsvlei River for any agricultural purposes between 6AM on Saturday until 6AM on Monday. Water users in Gauteng are therefore requested to work cooperatively with the department by ensuring that they use water sparingly and with the greatest care," the department said.

The department has also assured Gauteng residents that contingency measures have been put in place to ensure that water supply continues uninterrupted during this period.

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