Johannesburg: the City With No Water
21st March 2023
Johannesburg is a city which should not exist in it's present location. But it clearly does. At 1,753m above sea level with no rivers or natural water sources, this bustling metropolis in South Africa grapples with a daunting water scarcity challenge every day.
Water is the source of life, and while almost every other city on earth was established and thrived on a river, lake or by the sea, Johannesburg is different. Established in 1886 amidst the gold rush, the city's rapid growth strained its limited water sources, as no natural water sources were present. Over time, unchecked urbanisation and inadequate infrastructure exacerbated the situation. Deep boreholes and tanked water has been the solution in the short but phenomenal growth story of this city.
With rainfall patterns becoming unpredictable due to climate change, Johannesburg faces acute water shortages. The city has implemented various measures including water restrictions, infrastructure upgrades, and promoting water-saving practices. However, the struggle continues as authorities strive to balance the needs of a burgeoning population with the demands of a parched environment, highlighting the urgent need for sustainable water management strategies.
The fourLINK team are in Johannesburg this week looking at water tanks for a project. This is a follow-up to our recent visit to Canada to inspect and sign-off the potable water treatment plant for the same project.
While in many parts of the world we take water for granted - by simply planning an inlet water connection to the site - the fourLINK team have recently engaged with projects where water must be carefully stored in tanks on site. Places like Johannesburg remind us of the real challenges of keeping potable water safely treated and stored so that we never run of this precious resource.
With thanks to our friends at Steel Tanks Africa.