Water pressure cut to stave off crisis

AGAINST THE CLOCK: Engineers and construction teams work to repair the collapsed canal on a citrus farm near Kirkwood

Taps could run dry in large parts of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro from tomorrow due to the collapse of a huge canal in Kirkwood.

The canal, which runs through a farm on the outskirts of Kirkwood and feeds the Nooitgedacht water treatment facility, was destroyed in a landslide on Wednesday afternoon.

While there are plans in place to try to avert a crisis, it is expected the city will have 30% (90ML) less of its daily water ration from tomorrow.

Water shortages could occur in Motherwell, Coega, the Port of Ngqura, Ikamvelihle, Perseverance, Markman, Wells Estate, Bluewater Bay, Bloemendal, Bethelsdorp, Despatch, Chatty, Colchester and parts of Uitenhage.

Municipal infrastructure, electricity and engineering political head Annette Lovemore said water pressure would be reduced across the city to cut down consumption.

“You can expect your water pressure to go down, especially at night,” she said.

Engineers and construction teams are scrambling to repair the canal, with a temporary measure expected to be in place in about six days’ time.

“We expect we will not be able to get water from Nooitgedacht at all from [tomorrow], until the temporary repairs are in place,” Lovemore said.

“Those areas normally supplied via Nooitgedacht can be supplied, to an extent, from the western sources in an attempt to limit water outages.”

The municipality will draw water from the Churchill, Impofu and Kouga dams to try to alleviate the shortage.

“We are going to try everything to avoid a water shortage and it is possible that, with help from all residents, it can be averted.

“Our water usage has to reduce to the absolute minimum so that there is more to share across our municipality,” Lovemore said.

The canal feeds the Scheepersvlakte Dam, which supplies the Nooitgedacht water treatment works.

“Unfortunately, at the time of the collapse, the Scheepersvlakte Dam held only four days’ supply,” Lovemore said.

“We are engaged in talks with the Department of Water and Sanitation to increase our allocation from the Kouga Dam.

“But doing this can affect the Gamtoos Valley farmers so the possibility will have to be carefully deliberated.”

The municipality will also use loudhailers and send out SMSes to warn residents about water usage.

Water tanks will be placed at strategic spots such as clinics and councillors’ offices from today.

“The entire city has to be part of getting us through this crisis,” Lovemore said.

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