Ricochet News

Water situation becoming too critical, Metro mulls consequences and alternatives

MARCH 8, 2017
Water situation becoming too critical, Metro mulls consequences and alternatives

"I commend residents for heeding our call and using less water, reporting leaks etc, but we must do more to ensure we do not run out of water," that was the message from Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor Athol Trollip during a tour of the Churchill Dam. The dam is among five major dams that supply the Metro with water; this week it is a critical 27% full.

The dam, and other dams in the area, also supply the Kouga Local Municipality, which like the Nelson Mandela Bay, implemented water restrictions late last year.

Addressing journalists, Trollip, who had been accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayoral Committee Member for Infrastructure and Engineering, Annette Lovemore, and other officials, said that the metro was paying particluar attention to those, who are not heeding the call to cut back water usage.

The Executive Mayor said that there would be an internal disaster management team meeting on Wednesday to discuss consequences for residents and businesses that have not heeded the call to save water.

“The measures may vary from knocking on people’s doors‚ issuing fines‚ naming and shaming‚ to controlled water supply or cutting off the entire water supply. But at this stage we have not laid out exactly how we will address the situation,” Trollip said.

He said that the Metro is exploring other ways to deal with the crisis, including drilling in the Coega area for subterranean water.  

"We actually want to encourage people to come to those borehole sites and collect bulk water. We also looking at our municipal swimming pools, any pools that have got leaks we are closing them down," the Mayor said, adding that the Metro was negotiating and exploring future installation of desalination plants.

"Obviously we have to find budget for that," he quipped.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro is beginning the process of applying for the region to be declared a disaster area. The combined capacity in its dams, which at the beginning of the year were at 100%, is currently at 47.92% - it hopes at 45%, the region can be declared a disaster area.

According to Cllr Lovermore, the Metro will also be busy in the coming week, National Water Week, to educate and create awareness among school children and local residents about the importance of saving water.

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 Main image: Where Executive Mayor Trollip is kneeling there should be water.