Metro: Every drop counts

2017-03-15 08:20

WATER users will have to count every drop of water for at least the next three weeks, to ensure that the reservoirs supplying the Nelson Mandela Bay metro of water, do not run empty.

“Most of the reservoirs are approximately 20% full, but there is a huge risk that they will dry up,” warned Annette Lovemore, mayoral committee member for Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy.

“This is a critical issue and we will have to rely on the metro’s consumers to assist.”

The municipality already requested last Friday that consumers halve their water consumption, but Lovemore said the cuts have not made a difference.

“We put water restrictions in place on August 31, and at that stage we consumed 50 million litres a day more than is allowed by the Department of Water and Sanitation. In September, it fell to 39 million litres being used over the allocation, and in October to 29 million litres over the allocation.

“Although we have become more water-wise, we still use more water than we can afford to. Therefore, we must reduce consumption by another 29 million litres a day, which means every household in the metro needs to save 100 litres per day.”

The urgency of the request has increased due to several factors that have surfaced in recent weeks, said Lovemore. “The water consumption was particularly high in the past few weeks, possibly because a water leak in Despatch caused problems for days before it was found and repaired.

“Two weeks ago we also had to shut the Churchill pipeline to investigate for possible leaks. A power outage meant that refurbishments took longer, and the pump at the Elandsjagt water treatment facility was also out of order.”

If consumers, however, do not apply water saving measures, the metro would have to implement fines. “This is the instruction that we received from the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Nomvula Mokonyane. We have this week as mayoral committee and then as council to determine on what strict penalties there would be. On one level we may charge R196 per kilolitre, while on another level only charge fines above 12 kilolitres.

“Meanwhile, we encourage residents and businesses to use wastewater for irrigation and to collect rainwater where possible.”

The municipality will not sit with arms folded, added Lovemore. “We must take responsibility for the water lost to leaks. We have just appointed 10 new plumbers who will assist us from December.”

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