Water restrictions remain despite recent rains

2017-12-06 06:02

THE good recent rains, with falls exceeding 40mm in the dam catchment areas, unfortunately had very little impact on the dam levels, said Councillor Annette Lovemore, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Infrastructure, Engineering, Electricity and Energy.

“The ground in the catchment areas is simply so parched that rainfall is soaking in rather than running off to the rivers and dams.”

Lovemore said the average dam levels only increased by approximately 1% from 28.6% on November 13 to 29.83% of capacity on December 1.

The current levels are the lowest in almost 30 years, while the 1990 levels reached 15.5% of the available capacity.

“We expect major rains in October 2018, according to the South African Weather Services (SAWS). At the current level of usage, our water supply will last until August 2018. That leaves us with a shortfall of two months during which time our only source of water will be the Nooitgedacht scheme,” Lovemore said.

“This scheme provides about half of the water we currently use. Having only this source is not a feasible option. We are all obliged to do everything that we can to use less in order for the supply from our dams to last as long as we need it to.”

She said it is, therefore, important that they remind the residents of the restriction measures currently in place.

“We know that, at this time of the year, the general public prepares for the festive season and much cleaning and painting take place.

“In addition, we are moving towards our warmest season.

“The SAWS predicts hotter than average temperatures and it is natural then that water usage might increase. We can’t afford this,” Lovemore explained.

Water restrictions

The following restrictions are currently in place and are enforceable in terms of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality: Water and Sanitation Services By-law (Provincial Gazette No. 2361, dated May 14, 2010):

. No use of hosepipes is allowed (to water gardens, wash cars, hose down walls or paving, top up pools, fountains or ponds, etc.), unless:

- The water is from a source other than municipal

- The water is used for fire-fighting purposes.

. No use of municipal water supply is allowed for watering plants, unless:

- The water is carried in a handheld container

- The water is from a source other than municipal

- The water is used at a commercial or state nursery (where watering must take place using handheld containers if municipal water is used).

. No use of sprinklers or irrigation systems allowed, unless the water is from a source other than municipal.

. All building contractors must use treated effluent, collected from Fishwater Flats, or any other appropriate wastewater treatment works, other than for concrete work.

. All borehole users must register with the municipality and abide by the legislative conditions applicable to the use of borehole water.

. No use of automatic urinal flushing systems is allowed.

. Residential and institutional users are subject to Part C of the Schedule of Tariffs, while commercial and industrial users are subject to Part B of the Schedule of Tariffs.

“In addition to the legal requirements aimed at conserving our limited water resources, all the residents are encouraged to limit their water consumption to 60 litres per person per day and households to limit consumption to 400 litres per day and 12kl per month,” Lovemore added.

The NMB Municipality is in the process of hiring additional plumbers as it fights the battle against water loss through leaks and bursts from old and ageing infrastructure.

“We are aware that many people desperately want to maintain good gardens, that there are nurseries and pool companies struggling to make ends meet as a result of the drought, that building contractors need to use water, and are precluded from using potable water (other than for concrete work), and that car washes might face closure unless they recycle or find alternative water sources.

“With these considerations in mind, the municipality will continue to make recycled effluent available to contractors and householders for non-drinking purposes during business hours from the Fishwater Flats and the Cape Recife Wastewater Treatment Works.”

Untreated groundwater is available for non-drinking purposes at the Motherwell cemetery, between 8am and 4pm from Monday to Friday each week.

“All of our municipal swimming pools that open for the season have been filled with groundwater. We are serious about the need to save water and stretch the little that we have for as long a time as possible. We know that the public are just as serious about protecting the scarcest of our resources,” Lovemore concluded. – REPORTER


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