Nelson Mandela Bay Water Restrictions May Be A Reality

BY SUPPLIED - MARCH 27, 2015

On 17 October 2014, an item was presented to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Portfolio Committee on Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy, that, if approved, would have seen water restrictions as from November 2014.

This was done after consulting with the National Department of Water and Sanitation, an inspection of the dam levels, as well as forecasting of the water consumption trends. The item, however, was not tabled at (and consequently not approved by) Council.

During 2014, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality convened media and stakeholder briefings to alert consumers to curtail water usage, due to the current consumption patterns in relation to the supply system.

Currently the dams which supply Nelson Mandela Bay are about 66% full. This is about 20% less than at the same time last year and South Africa remains a water-scarce country.

The Nelson Mandela Bay currently uses up to approximately 320 ML (320 million litres or 320 000 kl) of water per day and the current supply system can safely produce approximately 270 ML per day.

In order to fill the demand gap, we are using water from the Kromme system (Churchill and Mpofu Dams), which causes the dam levels to drop drastically, and thus exacerbates the water-scarcity problem.

In terms of forward planning, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is going ahead with the Nooitgedacht Low-level Scheme Phase 2 Project which will see an additional 50 ML of water added to the Bay's supply system.

There has been a lot of talk around national government's commitment to this project. Again, we wish to categorically state that the Nooidgedacht Low Level Scheme Phase 2 project is definitely going ahead as planned. We have appointed three contractors, the site was handed over on 10 December 2014, and physical construction is scheduled to commence in April 2015 and be complete in the first quarter of 2017, effectively within two years.

While the contractor is constructing over the next two years, the supply system will be under severe strain, as has now been proven, and we therefore appeal to all our consumers to use water sparingly.

We have taken note of the Gazette which imposes a 15% reduction on water usage in the Bay. We are confident that, in unison as the community of Nelson Mandela Bay, we can easily achieve this target.

In terms of the multi-year budget that was approved, a stepped-tariff approach is implemented for the charging of water consumption.  The stepped tariffs are not intended to penalise consumers nor for the Municipality to earn extra revenue, this is quite simply, to ensure that we all contribute to the communal solution of saving water, in cognisance of our reality as being a water-scarce region within a water-scarce country.

Please Use Water Sparingly, Please Actively Contribute to the Preservation of a Precious and God-Given Resource.

 

IMAGE supplied by www.eurofitdirect.co.uk