WATER WEEKLY 1 | 26 February 2019  

Rhodes University
Rhodes University

Welcome to the first in a series of weekly water updates from Rhodes University. The aim of these regular news briefs is to inform, support and connect with the Rhodes University community in all water-related issues.

Each week, we will give updates on what the University is doing, provide suggestions and tips for what you can do, and to engage and connect with the University community. This water crisis affects us all, and it is only through collaboration, discussion and sharing of information that we can hope to get through these trying times.

We are opening the communications@ru.ac.za email address to your participation in this water crisis. Please send the following:

  • Your suggestions for improvement on our communication methods about water-saving and usage… but please keep in mind, there is a big difference between a complaint and a suggestion.
  • Your own tips for saving our water – include your name and department so we can credit you!
  • What water-saving initiative you, your department, faculty, or residence are implementing or busy implementing. We would like to follow up on some of these stories and feature them on our website, social media or campus screens. Don’t hold back!

We need all hands on deck going forward, and each and every submission is appreciated.


What Rhodes is doing to #SaveOurWater

  • We are in the process of installing smart water metres at all the residences on campus. By the end of this week, 52% of these water meters would have been installed, with the rest being installed next week.
  • Smart water metres will work to not only reduce water pressure/flow when there is an excess of use, but it will cut off the water supply after the 50litre per person daily water limit has been reached. This will assist students to become self-regulating with their water-use.
  • P-Mats have been added to all urinals and hand sanitisers have been placed in all of the bathrooms on campus.
  • Chlorinating agent will be added to the water collection containers to ensure that the water is sanitised for flushing toilets.
  • Grey water, drinking water, and rainwater tanks have been placed all around campus.
  • Rhodes University has purchased a second water tanker to be used to transport grey water and borehole water to these water tanks. This second tanker will be delivered on 26 February. Once the tanker is delivered, Rhodes University will begin to fill the borehole water tanks around campus with borehole water. Rhodes University’s existing boreholes are not suitable for drinking, but this water can be used for other purposes.
  • The existing water tanker has been and will be used exclusively for transporting drinking water. 20 x 10, 000 litre water tanks all around campus have already been filled with drinking water with the use of this tanker.
  • Gift of the Givers has identified and drilled three additional boreholes which are currently being tested to potentially be used as drinking water. These results will be communicated at a later stage.
  • Each student has been issued with water bottles. Water is to be collected from the Khaki coloured water tanks that are labelled ‘DRINKING WATER’. Refer to map on Google Drive link: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1v_t-w5xB3puUuckTm-ZUYFAR1ZDjEYHD?usp=sharing
  • The University is continuously keeping the Rhodes community informed of the water crisis through a series of internal emails, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, and showcasing water-saving tips and other information on the campus-wide television screens. Since this is a joint effort, Rhodes University has made a collection of water-saving materials available to its staff – these include posters, social media and web banners, videos, illustrations, infographics and a water-tank location campus map.


Community conversation

It has come to the attention of Rhodes University Management that some residences are still not using the water-saving plans, as they are apparently waiting for some sort of instruction. A crisis situation should not be about compliance, but one of initiative. We would like to encourage the Rhodes University community to act as one would in any crisis situation – by being proactive and involved. You can’t get into trouble if you #DoYourPart, whether it has been mandated or not. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any water crisis issues you would like to vent about and give workable suggestions to how people can do things better/differently? Please email us at communications@ru.ac.za.


What you can do to #DoYourPart and #SaveOurWater

We asked some people in the Communications & Advancement Division to give us their go-to water saving tips. Please share yours with us (communications@ru.ac.za), so that we can include them in future issues of this newsletter.

  • It is quite possible to go below your allocated 50litres per day limit. Why not challenge yourself and give it a try? ~ Ilva Pieterse, Communications
  • Encourage water-saving and spread awareness about water usage wherever you can. ~ Veliswa Mhlope, Communications
  • Do not, under any circumstances, wash your car, fill up your swimming pool or water your garden. ~ Dr Iain L’Ange, Infrastructure & Operations
  • Please go to https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1v_t-w5xB3puUuckTm-ZUYFAR1ZDjEYHD?usp=sharing to access water-saving marketing material. This will be regularly updated as new material becomes available.
  • Report leaks on campus to CPU or watercrisis@makana.gov.za for residential or other leaks.
  • We need to work together and support each other. ~ Mandilakhe Kila, Stakeholder Relations
  • Use basins or buckets to collect shower water. Use this to flush your toilet.



What the municipality is doing

  • Drought funding gazetted by the Department of Water & Sanitation (R22 million) is in the process of being released.
  • Trucks for water deliveries (during rationing) are in the process of being procured to deliver water when needed.
  • An investigation into negligence with regard to the Howiesonspoort Pump Station is currently underway.
  • The James Kleynhans (JK) Water Treatment Works has been operating at under 50 percent due to urgent maintenance at the plant. The municipality will hire water trucks to augment the efforts of the Gift of the Givers (GoG) who are currently delivering bottled water. They will start by filling JoJo tanks at schools, crèches and old age homes with water from the boreholes that have been drilled by GoG. Once the JoJo tanks are filled, the municipality will deliver water with tankers to the community. It is expected that the situation at JK will last at least another five days (as of 26 February).


Useful links/articles this week:



Thank you for working through these difficult times with us. We appreciate all of the assistance that has been offered to us thus far. Please keep the conversation about #SaveOurWater going.