State of Disaster: Water crisis looming

2020-04-16 06:01

THE administration of Nelson Mandela Bay has allowed the local State of Disaster declaration in relation to the drought to lapse as Day Zero approaches and the combined dam levels servicing the Metro drop to less than 23% of capacity.

This is according to Coundillor Masixole Zinto, DA NMB spokesperson for Infrastructure and Engineering who also said it is extremely concerning that, despite the rapidly diminishing water supplies, the Metro has not been proactive in dealing with water leaks or other water-saving measures.

“The local State of Disaster was only declared in November 2019, and the Disaster Management Act stipulates that such a declaration lapses after three months, after which the municipality must extend the declaration on a month to month basis,” said Zinto.

“This means that the November Declaration has expired in February already and no extension has been gazetted. The disaster declaration is necessary to apply for funding from the provincial or national government.”

Zinto said in a press release that he wrote to Cllr Tshonono Buyeye, the Acting Executive Mayor, and requested feedback on why the local State of Disaster has not been extended, as the Metro stands to lose substantial drought funding if this has not happened.

Cllr Andile Lungisa, member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Infrastructure and Engineering,has stated in the media that the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping through the country has severely hampered the Metro’s ability to fix water leaks and that because of the national lockdown water usage at homes has increased.

“The argument that water consumption in households has increased, is mitigated by the fact that water consumption at local businesses, who have been forced to close their doors during the lockdown, would have decreased.

“MMC Lungisa’s argument that the Metro is in trouble if dam levels drop below 16% is extremely short-sighted. The Metro is in trouble now. By the time it hits 16% it will be too late,” said Zinto.

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