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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

WATCH: Gauteng residents warned to brace for ‘water shifting’- but what is it?

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu said "nobody opposed water shifting"

Gauteng residents have been warned to brace for “water shifting” as the province grapples with the shortage of the precious resource.

Minister of Water and Sanitation Senzo Mchunu called for the measure during a site visit to areas affected by supply challenges across Gauteng on Wednesday. He was joined by his deputies, David Mahlobo and Judith Tshabalala.

Watch: Senzo Mchunu on water shifting

Residents from several areas, including South Hills, have complained about not having water for more than two weeks.

ALSO READ: Authorities warn of water system collapse as demand exceeds supply

Confused? Don’t worry. Here are some of your questions about water shifting answered:

What is water shifting?

According to Mchunu, water shifting is moving the flow of water from areas with less consumption by residents to communities affected by water outages and shortages.

Mchunu said Rand Water had assured him that they will do load shifting from a line that is not too busy and redirect to Palmiet, until the system recovers and is able to supply even high-lying areas. Last week the utility said Palmiet was affected by a storm that led to water outages in several areas.

This should not be confused with the geological term for movement of water on Earth, which causes changes in the tilt of Earth’s axis.

By pumping water out of the ground and moving it elsewhere, humans have actually shifted such a large mass of water that the Earth tilted nearly 80 centimetres east between 1993 and 2010 alone, changing the planet’s rotational pole, explains a new study published in the American Geophysical Union’s Geophysical Research Letters

How is it different to water shedding?

Water shedding is the scheduled cut or outage of water supply for a specific period of time, similar to electricity load shedding.

How will it affect my water flow?

Under water shifting, residents will still get water but the flow may be slower.

Mchunu also requested Rand Water set a timeline for the provision of the extra 150 mega litres from Station 5A.

How long will it last?

Mchunu said the measure is not a permanent solution.

“We have to do something permanent to address this challenge. I support Joburg Water‘s initiative to construct a temporary pump station to assist with the turnaround recovery of water shortages.

“Joburg Water will share implementation plans and time frames regarding the development of the sump at the South Hills tower,” Mchunu said.

He also ordered the City of Johannesburg to start the process of replacing old leaking pipes to stop large volume of water being lost due to leaks.

ALSO READ: Unsafe tap water across major SA cities – these are the worst-hit areas

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Rand Water Senzo Mchunu water crisis

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