Ricochet News

Water Augmentation Strategy keeps Bay open for business and tourism

Feb 7, 2018
Water Augmentation Strategy keeps Bay open for business and tourism

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture, Cllr Andrew Whitfield has urged tourists and local businesses to continue saving water and support water restrictions whilst sustaining tourism numbers to the city as the sector is a major contributor to the local economy.  

According to Cllr Whitfield, the water restrictions are part of the contingency plans put in place not only in Nelson Mandela Bay but a variety of provinces as this is now a national crisis.

“We remain open for business however the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is currently facing water shortages and we encourage all our visitors to hep us to save water. The levels of our supply dams have reached an all-time low of just above 24 percent, the latest dam levels as can be viewed on www.nelsonmandelabay.gov.za/Residents currently reflect Kouga at 9,95%; Churchill at 18,97%;  Impofu at 43,71%; Loerie at 83, 71% and Groendal on 51,80%,” he described.

Whitfield said that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has implemented many strategies to prevent the city from completely exhausting all the water supplies and some of the contingencies include:

  • Phase three of the Nooitgedagt Low Level Scheme comes online this year, after which the entire system will provide a total of 210 ML a day to the Metro. The Nooitgedacht scheme is the extension of the Nooitgedacht water-treatment works that treats water from the Gariep Dam that borders the Free State and Eastern Cape province. The water then flows via the Orange-Fish River tunnel and a series of connected rivers to the Sundays River irrigation scheme. From there it is piped, via the treatment works, to areas which include Port Elizabeth. Nelson Mandela Bay commenced the Phase 1 of the operation as far back as 2011 in anticipation of water restrictions.
  • Given the dwindling capacity of our Western Supply Dams, the City has embarked on a Municipality-wide groundwater exploration programme. For example, high pressure and fast-moving groundwater below the Coegakop Area could see a number of artesian wells established, producing approximately 30 ML of water a day.
  • The Municipality will also push down consumption by reducing the velocity and pressure of water moving through pipes. Additionally, there will be an accelerated infrastructure maintenance and replacement operation over the next few years, starting immediately.
  • Faulty water meters will be repaired, and new meters will be installed at households where water supply has been free flow.
  • Water restrictive devices will be installed at those households or businesses identified as consuming excessive amounts of water.
  • Desalination is part of long-term thinking, as the technology is very expensive and will require multiyear budgeting. For now, the measures will almost certainly be sufficient in the short term.
  • Since the drastic decrease in dam levels in 2016, the municipality has intensified its water saving awareness campaign. The City has also employed more plumbers and improved performance management systems within the teams that is dedicated to fix water leaks. This has not only decreased the turnaround time for the fixing of water leaks, it has also led to the municipality saving of millions of litres of water. Please continue to report water leaks to 0800 20 50 50.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality continues to encourage tourists to visit and Businesses to invest in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Through implementing water-wise practices and being conscious of the natural resources visitors, investors and locals can continue to experience the destination’s offerings without aggravating consequences on an already severe situation, said Cllr Whitfield.

 “As Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality we are confident that we will not reach ‘Day Zero’ and we will continue to support and welcome tourism and investors into our city in order to maintain economic growth and contribute to job creation opportunities.

"Water security is key for investors and travellers alike and that is why our  contingency plans have been implemented and international media and travellers need to be aware of these to mitigate any negative outcomes or anxiety that could cause a decline in tourism and loss of potential investments. Travellers and Investors should be aware that they will not exacerbate the current situation” said Cllr Whitfield.

“Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and Business Chambers will endeavour to support industry to keep it updated regularly on the situation.

"Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism will endeavour to keep stakeholders and visitors informed on Responsible Tourism practices to prevent those that wish to cancel travel plans to the destination or to prevent future travellers from being deterred due to the water crisis.”