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 » Water and Sanitation » Low Flush Cisterns


1.  What is a low-flush cistern?

  • This is a cistern that is modified to use less water to flush.
  • The cistern remains empty in its resting state and fills on demand to reduce  internal plumbing leakage and minimum night flow.

2. Why a low-flush cistern?

Due  to the ensuing draught conditions, Johannesburg Water is exploring new and innovative ways to strengthen water conservation and demand management strategies which are directly linked to the City’s Blue Economy initiatives.

The city is now championing the Blue Economy – a way of growing the economy by using resources in new ways whilst eliminating waste and saving the environment. Johannesburg Water is a company owned by the City of Johannesburg to deliver water and wastewater treatment is at the forefront of efforts to save this precious resource.

Households currently use 29% of their total water for flushing. The introduction of toilets that use little water is intended to reduce by half the amount of water that households use for flushing toilets. It is envisaged that 574Ml of water equivalent to R3.5 million will be saved per annum upon completion of Phase one of the project .

The reduction of water usage is directly linked to reduction of customer bills and promotion of water conservation.

Phase one of the project which entails a roll out of 10 000 cisterns is targeting Soweto where there are a large number of cisterns bigger than 9litres. This project will supplement the on-going Soweto Infrastructure Upgrade and Rehabilitation Project which has also successfully contributed to water savings by upgrading the secondary mains infrastructure, retrofitting of leaking plumbing fixtures and installation of prepaid meters.

3. Who qualifies to have a low-flush cistern installed?

The current phase of the project is being implemented in Soweto, covering areas around Phiri, Senaone, Slovoville, Meadowlands and Dobsonville. The project currently targets consumers who have prepaid meters and are buying water in order to reduce water consumption and costs.

This means anyone who falls within the project area and has a functioning prepaid water meter qualifies.

4. How to get a low-flush cistern installed

  • Customers who reside within the project area will be visited by a facilitator to sign  a consent form.
  • Once a consent form has been signed, a contractor will be assigned to come and replace the cistern.

IMPORTANT: Please note that Johannesburg Water will only be liable for the work carried out on the cistern and will not be liable for any pre-existing plumbing works.

5. This project supports the Jozi@work programme

Jozi@Work is a City of Johannesburg programme which aims to reduce unemployment, poverty and inequality in Johannesburg by offering small scale entrepreneurs the opportunity to provide services on behalf of the municipality.

The installation of low-flush cisterns is implemented through the Jozi@work programme. A total of 120 jobs were created of which 60 are plumbers and 60 labourers for installations.