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JHB residents urged not to 'panic' over water restrictions

Johannesburg Water says it has not implemented any control measures yet.

Picture: Freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The City of Johannesburg has called on residents not to panic over water restrictions, which it says haven't been implemented yet.

Earlier this week, Rand Water issued a notice to residents in Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg warning of low reservoir levels due to minimal rainfall and high temperatures.

Johannesburg Water says while it still urges residents to use water sparingly, it has not implemented any control measures yet.

Johannesburg Water's Hilgard Matthews says reports of water restriction in the city are false.

"In Johannesburg we do not have restrictions as per our communications with Rand Water."

Matthews says it's unclear why such reports have spread as the city is only calling for responsible use.

"Nowhere in those statements was anything said about restrictions."

The city says it is worried about the effects low rainfall will have on its services.

Matthews says the city's water supply is stable at the moment.

"We all stress, this includes Rand Water and other partners, that all of us have to use water responsibly. In terms of our reticulation system it is working normally and our reservoirs are in a good state."

Meanwhile, the City of Tshwane says it has implemented water restrictions which kicked in last week.

Residents have been advised to reuse water where possible and avoid filling pools and bathtubs.

NO SIGNIFICANT RAINFALL

At the same time, forecasters said significant rainfall is only expected in autumn next year.

They say global warming and the El Niño effect are likely to blame for the lack of rainfall.

Environmental scientist Simon Gear said the last few months have been the warmest on record.

"Global warming has clearly taken hold and so the last three or four months have been among the warmest on record. Combined with that we have the strongest El Niño signal that we've had since the 1940s."

Principle researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research professor Francois Engelbrecht said usually El Niño events are associated with below normal rainfall.

"That means the December to February period particularly is associated with below normal rain or even drought during El Niño year."

The South African Weather's Service Cobus Cronje said the lack of significant rainfall is expected to last until next year.

"We can say that we are experiencing below normal rainfall and this season is expected to last into autumn next year. This is what the long range is indicating."