Gamtoos farmers face likely water cuts

Irrigation board chief slams Bay metro over wastage

Gamtoos Valley farmers face possible water restrictions next month, as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality continues to waste water from the region’s main dam through hundreds of leaking pipes and taps across the city.

If the Kouga Dam drops below its current 68% level, the Gamtoos Irrigation Board (GIB) might implement water restrictions for the valley.

The only saving grace from possible water restrictions is if it rains heavily in the next two weeks.

If water restrictions are put in place, farmers will be forced to cut back on staff.

GIB chief executive Pierre Joubert said the municipality’s failure to complete the Nooitgedacht lowlevel water scheme and implement the requested water restrictions last year and its irresponsible management of water in the city were to blame

The GIB provides water to about 7 400ha of farmland in the Eastern Cape, which makes up about 250 farms.

More than a quarter (28%) of dam water managed by the GIB is allocated to the greater Port Elizabeth and Patensie regions.

Joubert said the municipality had reached its annual water quota of 119.3 million cubic litres in February already.

The municipality is now rerouting water from the Loerie Dam, which further affects the financial stability of farmers in the region.

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