Rain brings little relief to low Bay dam levels

While there were high hopes of the rain in Nelson Mandela Bay over the Easter weekend bringing some relief to the drought-stricken region, it had little to no effect on the low dam levels.

Despite more than 20mm falling in Port Elizabeth since Thursday, only three of the Bay’s five supply dams benefited slightly.

Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said the Churchill Dam received 17mm of rain, Impofu Dam 16mm and Loerie Dam 7mm.

“If it doesn’t rain in the catchment areas, it doesn’t affect the dam levels,” he said.

The catchment areas are close to the dams and rivers which supply them with water.

“The rainfall [at the weekend] did not make a significant impact on raising the current average dam levels,” Mniki said.

“It is difficult to estimate rainfall, but 30mm over a short period could raise the dam levels.”

The disappointing lack of impact on the dams is exacerbated by the fact that no major rainfall is expected for the Nelson Mandela Bay area over the next week, according to SA Weather Service forecaster Markus Geldenhuys.

Geldenhuys said 20.4mm of rain had fallen in Port Elizabeth from Thursday to 8am yesterday, while in Uitenhage 2.2mm of rain fell over the same period, and 5.2mm fell in the Addo region.

Last week, mayor Athol Trollip said that the next phase of punitive water tariffs – Part C – would be implemented if the dam levels, which are at a combined level of 43%, dropped to 40%.

Trollip said that while the overall dam levels were at 43.1%, the last 10% of the water was deemed unusable, meaning the metro had just 33% of potable water left – equating to about 12 months’ supply.

Leave a Reply