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Water extraction halted at Impofu dam - Nelson Mandela Bay's largest dam

Nov 14, 2019
Water extraction halted at Impofu dam - Nelson Mandela Bay's largest dam

Port Elizabeth - Due to the ongoing drought in the Eastern Cape, the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Thursday said that residents are to cut down to 50 liters of water per person per day as water supply reached a critical point with extraction at the Impofu Dam stopped.

The combined capacity of the major supply dams for Nelson Mandela Bay are now alarmingly below 34%. This is despite some good rains falling over the Eastern Cape over the past few days

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Member of the Mayoral Committee for Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy, Andile Lungisa, said the necessary steps are now put in place to follow the implementation of a drought declaration by the Eastern Cape Provincial Government in October.

“Work is now being put into place to ensure that the necessary interventions are put in place to manage our water with a greater emphasis on conservation and the reporting of leaks.

“Water is a precious natural resource to which our residents have a constitution right to, which means we are reliant on sufficient rainfall, to deliver on this priceless source for our constituencies,” MMC Lungisa said.

Since November 2015 the Metro has been experiencing a dry period of below average monthly rainfall, resulting in declining dam levels and water storage capacities. In September 2018 good rains occurred in very specific catchments and the average dam levels increased from 17.82% to 53.03%.

Water at Impofu dam can no longer be extracted

This rainfall created a false sense of security as certain catchment areas did not receive significant rainfall and since then the average levels have continued to drop, currently at 33.96% as of 11 November 2019.

During a visit to the Impofu Dam, the largest supply dam to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Senior Director for Water and Sanitation, Barry Martin, said extraction of water at the dam had to stop as the lowest intake point of the dam is above the water level of the dam currently.

“Approximately 100 mm rain was measured in Kareedouw during recent rain but it did not result in any significant inflow in Impofu as yet.

“The water levels of Churchill dam rose to early 90% but for the city to benefit more significantly, the Churchill Dam must overflow and fill up the Impofu Dam as they are both located on the Kromme River.

“This Impofu Dam is currently at 16% and we might still be able to drop the level to 9% as we hope to float a barge on the dam with pumps fitted on it.

“We will then pump water from the dam into the inlets of the tower to distribute it to our consumers.

“The most critical issue is that we must cut back on water consumption. We found that too many people use more than 1000 liters of water a day. In a drought situation it is criminal. We need to stick to 50 liters per person per day,” Martin said.

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