The water level of Makana municipality’s biggest dam has plummeted to 34%, with Grahamstown now left with only about four months’ supply.
Municipal spokeswoman Yoliswa Ramokolo said if there were no heavy rains in the next few weeks, the city would be without water within months
“Howieson’s Poort Dam is being kept topped up at around 90% but that is a much smaller dam,” she said.
The Settlers Dam supplies water to Grahamstown, which includes Rhodes University.
The municipality has called on residents to curb water wastage.
The city and some of the surrounding areas have been under water restrictions since 2013, with the supply throttled at night.
“At the current consumption rates, we are looking at three to four months’ supply unless there are prolonged heavy rains,” Ramokolo said.
If the Settlers Dam level continued to drop, they would be forced to draw water from the James Kleynhans pumping station, which is supplied by the Orange River, she said.
James Kleynhans supplies the townships of Grahamstown, which include Joza, Extension 10 and Transit Camp among others.
“This supply is secure and not under threat for the foreseeable future, though the water demand far exceeds the production capacity of the plant, hence the overnight throttling of the main reservoir feeding the area,” Ramokolo said.
“It is the west [the city and Rhodes University] side of town that is a cause for concern.
“Although there is a connecting pipe which can be used to transfer water from James Kleynhans to the west, the situation is not as straightforward because usage is already over capacity.”
Ramokolo said that sharing water between the two sides of town would leave the townships short of supply.
The municipality is upgrading its Botha’s Hill reservoir to increase supply from 10Ml a day to 20Ml/day.