Council gives nod to water restrictions and punitive tariffs, taps dry out in Western suburbs

DECEMBER 2, 2016

The City is in a water crisis and there is no other way, but to effect water restrictions with punitive tariffs for high water usage. That was the recommendation by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure and Engineering, Annette Lovemore, to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council meeting on Thursday.

“Not going forward with restrictions, we will have our taps running dry,” she warned.

Council subsequently, gave the nod to the proposed water restrictions and punitive new tariffs.

Ahead of the meeting, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality had said calls for water conservation, which have been aired for the three months, had not sufficiently been heeded by local residents. Thus, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's bulk supply reservoirs had dropped below 30%.

Nelson Mandela Bay 'squandered' water

In August, the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) warned of impending water restrictions after authorities sounded the alarm over the rapidly declining levels of the main supply dams to the Nelson Mandela Bay and Gamtoos Valley farmers - pointing fingers at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality for squandering the scarce resource.

Taps dry out in Western suburbs

On Thursday, the Metro also advised residents that the Western parts of Nelson Mandela Bay were out of drinking water.

"Affected areas are Rowallan Park, Lorraine, Kabega, Bay West and KwaNobuhle.

"Demand from the system has resulted in over abstracting too much water from Loerie / Kouga dams as a result we increased the production, but at this rate we will empty Loerie," the municipality warned.

"This actually means that all non essential water use must be stopped immediately. 

"Residents are requested to use water to drink, cook, wash in their basins and only to flush toilets when absolutely necessary. No household should use more than 250 litres of water a day right now."

Burst water pipes affect Uitenhage

On Wednesday, it had said that it was experiencing burst water pipes in North street and surrounding streets in Uitenhage, Joe Slovo area (Allanridge West) and parts of Bloemendal.

"The Municipality has cut off water supply in these areas whilst the municipal technicians are assessing the magnitude of the problem and the time it will take to fix the matter," it said.

"As a standard operating procedure, the municipality will deploy alternative water arrangements (water tankers) to the affected areas. The alternative water supply is considered when the problem cannot be resolved within four hours.

"The municipality urges residents in the affected areas to use water for only for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene purposes."

Water situation is dire

Ahead of the meeting, Councillor Lovemore, said that as a city; "We need to save 50 million liters of water a day."

Up to date, that has not happened as we saved in the region of 30 million liters a day - which is certainly not enough.

“Our dams are getting emptier all the time and with the heat and not enough rain. So, we have no other option to say that we will keep on encourage people to save. However, we will have to punish you. It will not affect the poorest of the poor. It will affect the wealthier who can afford to use more water. They will feel it in their pockets,” she said.

Also speaking ahead of the meeting, Mayor Athol Trollip also emphasized the clarion call for efficient water usage.

“Our water is running out. We do not have rain. We have summer months ahead of us and we will not get a lot of rain. Our water resources are getting lesser and lesser. Like is says on the pamphlet, ‘Play your part, be water smart’. We must take responsibility for our water resources and how we manage it. Water does not come from a tap, it comes from the heavens,” Mayor Trollip cautioned.

Lovemore encourages residents to continue to report water leaks.

“We are receiving approximately 3 000 complaints every month at our 24 hour complaints centre. For that we are grateful and we encourage residents to keep reporting those leaks because if we don’t know where those leaks are, we cannot tend to them.

“However if we know where they are, we can certainly take action. I want you to be aware and just know that we are certainly taking action from the municipality’s part. Having said that, we are fully aware that the action we can take is certainly not enough at this stage.

“We don’t have enough plumbers. We don’t have enough people in charge, but we are doing something about it. We advertised for plumbers, took on an additional seven plumbers and two new superintendents in the water distribution section. So we are working on this all the time. One of the main purposes of today is to tell you that contrary to perception there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes. We have very good people, doing a very good job under very difficult circumstances," she added.

Call 0800 20 50 50 (free from a landline) to report water leaks and abuse.