Water crisis woes continue

2019-09-11 06:01

THE drought-stricken Nelson Mandela Bay’s dam levels continue to decrease after the metro had its lowest ever rainfall for the month of August.

Only 3mm of rainfall was measured in August, breaking the 1985 record of 4.7mm for the month.

Despite exploring alternative water resources by drilling five new bore holes in the Motherwell area in April, the metro’s water situation is in dire straits with dam levels in the metro also hitting an all time low.

November 2015 was the last time the dams that supply the metro with water were full to 100% of total combined capacity. It has since decreased to 40.30% as of September 2. However, only 30% of usable water is left, as the remaining 10% cannot be used due to sediment build-up.

According to Garth Sampson, of the South African Weather Service, it is official that Port Elizabeth received the lowest total rainfall for August, from records that date back to 1900.

“The 98.3mm for winter was not a record due to some nice falls in July. However, it is well below the winter norm of 174.6 mm,” Sampson said.

In April, the amount of water lost due to water leaks in the metro had reached a high of 33%, according to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM).

According to the agenda of the Budget and Treasury Committee on July 26, a total of 3 918 million kilolitres of water in June this year was wasted. This contributes to more than 44.2 million kilolitres of wasted water for the 2018/2019 financial year.

This despite punitive water restrictions in place, which requires residents to use 500 litres of water per day per household, or less.

It was reported in the media that the NMBM received just over R230 million for drought relief from the National Treasury for the new financial year.

Netwerk24 reported that the metro was now in the same predicament as in 2017 when dam levels also reached 40%. According to Netwerk24, the former mayor, Athol Trollip, confirmed that phase three of the Nooitgedacht low-level scheme lacked funding from the national government and only about a third of the construction work had been completed.

Municipal spokesperson, Mthubanzi Mniki, said that phases one and two of the Nooitgedacht Water Scheme had been completed and commissioned, which increased the treatment capacity to approximately 140Ml/day. These two phases were completed in July 2017 and had since assisted with the drought problem.

“The drilling of the production bore holes at the Coegakop Wellfield has been successfully completed. The bulk water pipelines to the proposed water treatment facility have also been successfully completed. The 20Ml/day water treatment works, which will be supported by the R230 million funding, have been tendered and are in the final stages of award to the successful contractor,” Mniki said.

Asked about the plans the municipality had put in place to solve the water crisis, Mniki said that further bore holes in the NMBM had been identified and the drilling of these have been completed.

Mniki added, “The equipping of these drilled bore holes will now be performed in order to utilise the bore hole water in the near future.”

The Kouga Dam is currently at 41.60%, Churchill Dam at 99.38%, Impofu Dam at 19.71% and Loerie Dam at 51.65% as on September 2.

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